The genus Melanocorypha contains the Calandra Larks, which are birds of heavy build and large size. One of the Indian species is found only on the highest parts of the Himalayas, but the other is found in the cultivated parts of the plains.
The Alpine species has a much longer bill than the lowland species and has hardly any trace of the black pectoral patches which characterize the Calandras. It has also a much longer and a straighter claw. It is, however, hardly advisable to place the two in separate genera as there are many points of resemblance between them.
In Melanocorypha the bill is thick and gently curved and the nostrils are covered by plumelets; the wing has ten primaries, the first of which is very minute, and the wing is very long, reaching, when folded, nearly to the tip of the tail; the hind claw is very long and straight. The sexes are alike or nearly so.
Key to the Species.
a. Wing about 6 and largely white………………..M. maxima, p. 322.
b. Wing about 4.5 and without any white………………..M. bimaculata, p. 323.