860. Alauda arvensis.
Alauda arvensis, Linn. Syst. Nat. i, p. 287 (1766) : Blyth, Cat p. 131; Horsf. & M. Cat. ii, p. 466; Hume, S. F. i, p. 39 ; id. N. & E. p. 485 ; Sharpe, Cat. B. M. xiii, p. 567: Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. ii, p. 220. Alauda leiopus vel oriental's, Hodgs. in Gray's Zool. Misc. p. 84 (1844, descr. nulla). Alauda dulcivox, Hodgs. in Gray's Zool. Misc. p. 84 (1844, descr. nulla) ; Brooks, S. F. i, p. 484; id. J. A. S. B. xliii, pt. ii, p. 253 ; Hume, Cat. no. 766; Scully, S. F. viii, p. 338; id. Ibis, 1881, p. 582 ; Biddulph, Ibis, 1881, p. 89. Alauda triborhyncha, Hodgs. apud Horsf. & M. Cat. ii, p. 467 (part.) ; Jerd. B. I. ii, p. 433; Hume & Henders. Lah. to Yark. p. 268, pl. xxviii. Alauda guttata, Brooks, J. A. S. B. xli, pt. ii, p. 85 (1872); id. S. F. i, p. 485 ; Biddulph, Ibis, 1881, p. 90; Scully, Ibis, 1881, p..583.
The Himalayan Sky-Lark, Jerd.
Coloration. Upper plumage and wing-coverts dark brown, each feather broadly edged with fulvous; quills brown edged with fulvous, and with a tinge of rufous near the base of some of the quills ; tail brown, edged with fulvous, the penultimate feather with the outer web almost entirely white, the outermost all white, except the base of the inner web; a pale supercilium from the nostrils to the end of the ear-coverts ; ear-coverts streaked brown and rufous ; lower plumage pale fulvous, the cheeks and throat slightly, the breast boldly, streaked with black; the sides of the body less distinctly streaked with brown ; remainder of lower plumage very pale fulvous and at times almost white.
The young have the feathers of the crown much rounded and tipped with white, and most of the feathers of the upper plumage are very rufous and also tipped with white ; the wing-coverts are much more broadly margined with fulvous or rufous.
Bill dusky above, lower mandible greyish horny, faintly yellowish at the extreme tip; iris dark brown; legs and feet brownish fleshy (Scully).
Size very variable; length about 7; tail 2.5 to 2.9 ; wing 3.7 to 4.4; tarsus .95 ; bill from gape .65; these represent the extreme measurements of numerous Indian birds.
The Sky-Lark is as variable in size as the Raven, and the shades of brown, fulvous, and rufous of which its plumage is composed also vary exceedingly throughout its great range.
Distribution. The whole extent of the Himalayas from Hazara and Kashmir to Assam, where the Sky-Lark appears to be a constant resident, moving about to different levels according to season. In the winter many birds appear to visit the plains of the Punjab and North-west Provinces, and a Lark killed by Dr. Anderson near Bhamo in Upper Burma appears referable to this species.
The Sky-Lark is spread over Europe and the greater portion of Asia as far as China.
Habits, &c Breeds in the Himalayas in May and June, constructing a nest of fine grass on the ground and laying three to five eggs, which are marked with yellowish and purplish brown and measure about .95 by .67.