(1213) Alauda arvensis japonica.
The Japanese Sky-Lark.
Alauda japonica Temm. & Schl., Faun. Jap., p. 87 (1848) (Japan). Alauda arvensis. Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 324 (part).
Vernacular names. Cho-mo (China).
Description. A very dark, richly coloured race, very rufous above and decidedly more fulvous on the lower plumage, especially on the breast.
Colours of soft parts as in the other races.
Measurements. Wing 95 to 102 mm.; tail 60 to 66 mm.; tarsus 23 to 25 mm.; culmen 10 to 12 mm.
Distribution. Japan migrating in Winter to South China, Yunnan and Shan States. A bird shot on its nest taken on Mt. Victoria, Chin Hills, was identified by Oates as of this race To me it appears to be A. g. caelivox and to be quite indistinguishable from that Chinese bird.
Nidification. Similar to that of other Sky-Larks. Owston says "they always breed here in cultivation, either in dry crops or on the banks of grass dividing, or surrounding, the rice fields." The eggs, which number four or five, are like those of the other big Sky-Larks though smaller. Twenty-five eggs average 21 9 x 16.3 mm.: maxima 23.9 x 15.3 and 20.5 x l7.4 mm.; minima 20.2 x 16.7 and 22.1 x 15.1 mm.
June seems to be the principal breeding month.
Habits. Those of the genus. The Japanese Sky-Lark frequents both lowlands and the slopes of the mountains wherever there are pastures and cultivation. It is a true migrant and wanders very far in Winter but it is possible that some of the South-Western-visitors are birds which breed in the mountains of North-East China and Manchuria. It is said to be one of the favourite cage-birds among the Chinese and to be very hardy in captivity, even when kept in the very small cages used by the Chinese for these birds. Its flight and song are paid to be equal to those of the English bird. In Winter it collects in very large flocks and numbers are then trapped and sold as an article of food in the bazaars.