Bird of the week – Week 64 : Lark-like bunting

The Lark-like bunting is the least colourful of the buntings, being a rather nondescript buff colour with darker brown wings and tail and with a faint cinnamon tint to its under parts.  As implied by its name, it is similar to the larks and is distinguished from this group by its longer tail and short legs.  It is much the same size as the larks, with a length of about 15 cm and the sexes are alike in both size and plumage.

Lark-like bunting

A near endemic to the southern African region, the Lark-like bunting is fairly common in the drier western part of the region where it favours dry shrublands, grasslands and dry watercourses.  It is a gregarious bird often found in large flocks, quite commonly in the company of sparrowlarks or canaries.  Because of its predilection for the drier parts of the country, it may travel long distances in search of water as it drinks frequently.

Lark-like bunting

The Lark-like bunting feeds mainly on the seeds of shrubs and grasses, and on insects for which it usually forages on open ground.  Its song is somewhat like that of a canary, although it can be quite monotonous and repetitive.

Lark-like buntings are monogamous and build a shallow cup-shaped nest of twigs and lined with grass, usually tucked away behind a rock or a clump of grass.  The female lays a clutch of two to four eggs that hatch after an incubation period of about twelve days.

Lark-like bunting

The scientific name of the Lark-like bunting is Emberiza impetuani; Emberiza from the Greek for a bunting, and impetuani possibly originating from the Tswana language, but the meaning of which is not clear.

Lark-like bunting

 

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