A medium-sized, stocky lark with a small bill and rufous-gray barring and scalloping on the feathers of the head and upperparts, giving it a scaly appearance. Underparts are a rich buff with diffuse streaking on the chest. Pairs prefer thick dense shrubland in mesic fynbos and semi-arid karoo, where they are difficult to see except when they are displaying from August to October. The male perches on a small rock or low bush, before rising up 3-5 meters in the air with an accelerating wing-clapping display, then giving a 1-2 note whistled “seeeooo” or “tseee-tseeeooo” and parachuting down to the ground on raised wings. The species runs and creeps on the ground unobtrusively, foraging in tall vegetation. The similar Eastern Clapper Lark is larger than Cape Clapper Lark, with more rufous coloration on the body and wings and a wing-clapping display that is constant in rate, rather than accelerating.