(1212) Alauda arvensis inopinata.
The Tibetan Sky-Lark.
Alauda inopinata Bianchi, Ann. Mus. St. Petersb., ix, pp. xxiv, xxx et xxxi (1904) (Tibet). Alauda arvensis. Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 324 (part).
Vernacular names. Cho-mo (China).
Description. Similar to the preceding bird but distinctly darker, yet more grey, less rufous, on the upper plumage.
Colours of soft parts as in A. a. dulcivox.
Measurements. Wing 95 to 111 mm.; tail 63 to 66 mm.; tarsus about 23 to 24 mm.; culmen 10 to 12 mm. The fourth primary is generally the longest.
Distribution. Central, South and Eastern Tibet to the mountains of North-West and Central China.
Nidification. The Tibetan Sky-Lark breeds from the beginning of June to early August between 12,000 and 15,000 feet, making a nest just like that of the English Sky-Lark : a cup of grass, roots and perhaps a few leaves and stems of plants lined with the finest grass and roots. It is placed on the ground in grasslands, among weeds or in standing crops, the latter apparently the favourite site. It is said to be always very well concealed. The eggs number three or four, rarely five, and are just like those of other Sky-Larks of the larger type. Fifty eggs average 23.1 X 16.9 mm.: maxima 25.2x16.9 and 23.0x 17.4 mm.; minima 21.4 x 16.3 and 22.4 x 16.1 mm.
Habits. A resident bird in Tibet, merely moving lower with the season but occasionally they wander into the mountains of Assam these individuals almost invariably being birds of the year, retaining some of the pale terminal barring of the upper plumage. In Tibet it is found both on the grass pasture-lands and in cultivation, especially the latter and it does not frequent the more barren stony plateaus where some of the other Larks are so common. In night, voice etc. it is similar to other Sky-Larks, singing its beautiful song when soaring high up, often out of sight, in the air. Like other Larks, also, it sometimes bursts into song just before taking to flight and at other times continues it. for a few moments, after landing again. It is said to feed both upon large and small seeds and, possibly less regularly, upon small coleoptera and insects.