558. Crested LARK.
Corydus cristatus (Linn.), Syst. Nat. i. p. 288 (1766) ; (Naum.) iv. p. 134, Taf. 99, fig. 1 ; (Hewitson) i. p. 178, pl. xlv. fig. 5 ; (Gould), B. of E. iii. pl. 165 ; id. B. of Gt. Brit. iii. pl. 17 ; (Newton), i. p. 632 ; (Dresser), iv. p. 285, pls. 228, 229 ; (David and Oust), Ois. Chine, p. 317 ; (Sharpe), Cat. B. Br. Mus. xiii. p. 628 ; (Oates), F. Brit, Ind. Birds, ii. p. 337 ; (Saunders), p. 253 ; (Lilford), iv. p. 6. pl. 3 ; Galerita senegalensis, (P.L.S. Muller), Syst. Nat. Suppl, p. 137 (1776) ; G. thecloe, Brehm., Naum. 1858, p. 210 ; G. magnet, Hume, Ibis, 1871, p. 407 ; G. macrorhyncha, Tristr. Ibis, 1859, p. 57 ; Dresser, tom. cit. p. 301, pl. 235, fig. 2 ; G. randonii, Loche, Cat. Mam. and B. Alg. p. 85 (1858).
Cochevis-huppe, French ; Cotovia de poupa, Portug. ; Cogujada, Carretera, Spun. ; Capellaccia, Ital. ; Haubenlerche, German Kuifleeuwerik, Dutch ; Toploerke, Dan. ; Tofslarka, Swed. ; Cochlatyi-Javronok, Russ. ; Cubaha, Moor. ; Koba, Arabic ; Ghendul, Hindu.
Male ad. (Germany). Feathers on the crown much elongated forming a conspicuous crest; upper parts greyish brown marked with blackish brown ; supercilium buffy white ; wings and tail dark brown, margined with greyish brown and warm buff ; under parts white, the breast and sides of head and of the neck washed with buff, spotted and marked with blackish brown ; flanks streaked and washed with greyish brown ; under surface of the wing vinous buff ; bill dull yellowish brown ; legs pale fleshy brown ; iris dark brown. Culmen 0.75, wing 3.9, tail 2.5, tarsus 1.0 inch. Sexes alike. The young bird is paler, has the upper parts and the quills margined with buffy white and the crest is not developed.
This species is subject to considerable individual variation both in colour and size and has consequently been greatly subdivided by modern ornithologists. Dr. Sharpe in the Cat. B. Br. Mus. recognizes three species of Palaearctic Crested Larks, viz. ; G. cristata, G. theckloe, and G. isabellina, but Mr. Hartert who uses trinomials, recognizes (Novit. Zool. iv. p. 142) seventeen subspecies, and Baron von Erlanger, following his lead, re¬cognizes thirteen species and subspecies from N. Africa alone (J.f.O. 1899 p. 326), viz. Galerita cristata kleinschmidti, Erl., G. cristata macrorhyncha G. cristata arenicola, (Tristr.), G. cristata reichenowi, G. theckloe theckloe, G. thekloe miramaroe (Hom.), G. thekloe ruficolor,. Whitaker, G. theckloe harterti, Erl., G. theckloe superflua, (Hart.), G. theckloe deichleri, Erl., G. theckloe carolinoe, Erl., G. theckloe ruppelli, Hart., and G. theckloe ellioti, Hart. I am unable to recognise any of these forms as possessing specific value and agree with Dr. Sharpe, except that I cannot recognise G. theckloe as separable, though this form is generally somewhat smaller, has the upper parts darker and clearly marked, and the under parts tinged with buff, the bill being also generally somewhat shorter and stouter.
Galerita being preoccupied in entomology, I cannot do otherwise than propose a new generic name, viz. that of Corydus of Aristotle).
Hab. Europe generally, as far north as Southern Sweden ; of rare occurrence in the British Islands ; North Africa as far south as the Gambia ; Asia from North Turkestan to Central India and east to China, not occurring as far north as Siberia. In Southern India a fairly separable form, G. malabarica, is resident.
Frequents plains, and to some extent also hilly districts, is often seen on roads, and in villages and towns, and affects inhabited localities, fields, and both cultivated and uncultivated places. Throughout its range it is a resident or a partial migrant, according to locality. Its call-note is a soft, low whistle, and its song, which is generally uttered whilst the bird is on the wing, but sometimes also when it is sitting on the ground, is clear, sweet, and well modulated. Its nest, which is constructed of grass-bents, weeds, rootlets, and is sometimes lined with a few horse-hairs, is placed on the ground, and usually in close proximity to human habitations, and the eggs, from 4 to 6 in number, are greyish white, some¬times with a brown or greenish tinge, and are marked with purplish grey or pale brown shell-blotches, and pale or dark brown surface-spots and blotches, and in size average about 0.91 by 0.62. They are deposited from the middle of April to the middle of June. The food of the Crested Lark consists chiefly of seeds of various kinds, but also of insects.
558. Corydus cristatus
558. Crested LARK.