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Alaudala rufescens

warning Vulnerable
VU (C1,C2b)

Contributed: Avner Rinot, Yoav Perlman, Asaf Mayrose, Lior Kislev, Noam Weiss

The Lesser Short-toed Lark is classified as Vulnerable (VU) because of the continued decline in its population size and the sharp flactuations in the number of nesting birds from year to year. Its rate of decline is estimated to exceed 10% over three generations (9 years). In the previous edition of the Red Book (2002), it was classified as Least Concern (LC). The change in its threat category reflects the decline in the population size and range.
VU Current Regional Assessment | LC Previous Regional Assessment | LC World Assessment

Habitats Desert Plains, Inland Sand Dunes
Presence In Israel Summer Breeder, Migrant, Resident
Nesting In Israel Breeder
Migration Types Nomad, Resident
Zoography Zones Irano-Turanian, Saharo-Arabian
Landscape Formations Plains & Valleys, Wide Wadis, Sand Dunes
Vegetation Formations Steppe, Herbaceous
Vegetation Densities Low
Nest Locations Ground
Diet Types Herbivore
Foraging Grounds Ground
Body Sizes Small (up to 500g)
Threat Factors Overgrazing, Human Activity, Invasive Species

The Lesser Short-toed Lark is a small, delicate lark, with a pale brown plumage, tending to rufous, and a streaked back and breast. It has a short, thick bill. The male has a hoarse, fluent rattling song, with extensive mimicry of other bird songs. Usually performed while flying high in the air.

A relatively rare resident and summer visitor in the Western Negev, particularly in the Halutsa Sands, Agur Sands and Nitsana area. After rain events, it sometimes nests in other areas in the central and southern Negev. Until the 2000s, it was very common in the Western Negev sands, but in recent years, there has been a significant decline in the number of Lesser Short-toed Larks in these areas, to the point of complete absence in some years.

The Lesser Short-toed Lark inhabits broad wadis and sandy and loess flats with sparse low vegetation.

Its threat factors are not sufficiently understood, but observations on Lesser Short-toed Lark habitats in the Western Negev show them to be disturbed by intensive grazing of livestock, accompanied by dogs, direct disturbance by military and off-road vehicle activity, and the impact of agricultural expansion, including invasive and eruptive species.

No specific conservation measures have been taken for this species to date.

  • פז, ע. 1986. עופות. מתוך אלון, ע. (עורך), החי והצומח של ארץ ישראל. כרך 6. הוצאת משרד הביטחון, ישראל.
  • Perlman, Y., Shochat, E. and Labinger, Z. 2011. Developing Managment plan for important bird areas in southern Israel. second annual report, Nizzana region and Arava Valley.Israeli Ornithological center, SPNI.
  • Shirihai, H., 1996. The Birds of Israel. Academic Press, London.
  • Symes, A. 2013. Species generation lengths. Unpublished, BirdLife International.
  • Species page at Birdlife International
Contributed: Avner Rinot, Yoav Perlman, Asaf Mayrose, Lior Kislev, Noam Weiss

Current Occupancy Map

Distribution maps

The maps presented here provide visual information on the distribution of species in Israel in the past and present, and the changes in occupancy and nesting density during the comparison period. For further reading

Relative Abundance 2010-2020

Breeding density values as calculated from observation records and expert opinions.

Relative Abundance 1980-1990

Breeding density values are based mainly on the book Birds of Israel (Shirihai 1996).

Occupancy difference 1990-2020

A map that expresses differences in the breeding distribution between the evaluation periods (1980-1990 versus 2010-2020). Negative value - species previously present but is currently absent, positive value - species has not been recorded previously and is currently present, zero - no change in occupancy.

Relative abundance difference 1990-2020

A map that reflects the changes in the relative abundance of the species between the evaluation periods (1980-1990 versus 2010-2020). Negative values - decline in abundance, positive values - increase in abundance, zero - no change in abundance.

Red number

IUCN category

() districts
% of protected sites

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