Adult (Agulhas) © Andrew Spencer eBird S26256951 Macaulay Library ML 33571381
Adult (Cape) © Gil Ewing
Adult (Cape) © Holger Teichmann
Adult (Agulhas) © Will Knowlton
Adult (Cape) © Pietro D'Amelio
+ 3
Adult (Cape) © Niall D Perrins
Adult (Agulhas) © Raphaël Nussbaumer

Cape Lark Certhilauda curvirostris

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A large, slender lark with a long, thin decurved bill and long legs. Features can be variable, but generally this species has streaked gray-brown upperparts and a heavily streaked chest extending onto the flanks. As the similar-looking long-billed larks have separate ranges, location is a key factor in identification, but this is the largest and longest-billed member of the complex. It strides purposefully through sandy coastal shrubland, running quickly before pausing to dig in the soil or pick at shrubs for invertebrate prey and seeds. In a characteristic display the male flies low to the ground, before flying directly up 10 to 15 meters, and then closing its wings and plummeting toward the ground while typically emitting a two-note “tsit-tseeeoooouuu” whistle, the second note descending; in the north, only the second note is given. These calls and others, like a quavering “cheereee-cheeeoo,” can also be given from the ground. Most co-occurring larks are much smaller and more compact, with smaller bills and shorter legs.