549. CALANDRA LARK.
Melanocorypha calandra (Linn.), Syst. Nat. i. p. 288 (1766) ; (Naum.) iv. p. 127, Taf. 98, fig. 1 ; (Gould) B. of E. iii. pl. 162 ; id. B. of. Gt. Brit. iii. pl. 19 ; Newton, i. p. 646 ; Dresser, iv. p. 365 pls. 238, fig. 1, 239 ; Sharpe, Cat. B. Br. Mus. xiii. p. 551 ; Saunders, p. 258.
Calandre, French ; Alondra-calandria, Span. ; Cochico, Portug. ; Calandra, Ital. ; Kalanderlerche, German ; Bolchoi-stepnoi- Javronok, Russ.
Male ad. (Crimea). Crown, nape, and upper parts, including the lesser wing-coverts fulvous grey, the feathers dark brown in the middle ; wings dark brown, the primaries narrowly, the secondaries broader margined with buffy white, the latter broadly tipped with white, the larger and median coverts margined with warm buff ; middle rectrices brown, mar¬gined with fulvous buff, the rest blackish brown, the outer ones tipped with white, the two outermost almost all white ; lores and supercilium dull white ; chin, throat, and under parts white, on each side of the neck a large black patch ; upper breast tinged with fulvous and streaked with brown ; flanks washed with buffy grey ; beak horn-brown, reddish at base below ; legs reddish brown ; iris dark brown. Culmen 0.5, wing 5.3, tail 2.8, tarsus 1.05 inch. The female is smaller, has the neck patches smaller, the neck spotted with black, and is generally more rufous in tinge.
Hab. Central and Southern Europe, N. Africa, Palestine, Asia Minor ; east through Persia to Afghanistan and Turkestan ; of doubtful occurrence in Great Britain.
Inhabits both the hills and plains, cultivated and wild fallow land, and is wild and wary. Its song is rich and melodious, and for that reason it is often kept as a cage bird. It is also said to be a good mimic. It feeds on insects, worms, and seeds, and is partial to dusting itself in the sand. Nidification commences in May, and two broods are generally reared in the season. In the summer it is found in pairs, and in the winter in small families, seldom or never in large flocks. The nest, which is placed on the ground, usually in a field or on a plain, is constructed of grass-bents, plant-stems, and rootlets, and the eggs, 4 to 5 in number, are buffy grey, dull white, or olive-green, with ash-grey shell and liver-brown or nut-brown surface-spots and blotches, and average about 0.95 by 0.72. Specimens from Albania and Dalmatia have the upper parts darker and the black on the neck more extended, almost confluent in front.
549. Melanocorypha calandra
549. CALANDRA LARK.