Thursday, January 31, 2013

Greater Hoopoe Lark

Indian Roadrunner - Greater Hoopoe Lark

When I saw this bird in GRK, running fast in rann, it reminded me of another bird called, Roadrunner, found in North & West America. It was running continuously in a very typical style. It looked as if it prefers running than flying :-)

Greater Hoopoe Lark is found in parts Africa, Arab countries & Indian subcontinent. It prefers desert habitat. They feed on insects, small lizards & seeds. Normally Larks have finch like beak, as they are predominantly seed eaters, but this one feeds on insects / lizards & hence has long, curved beak to probe inside the mud or sand. Also since it lives in endless dry areas like Rann, it has long legs to run faster & search for food.

But its breeding display is like a typical Lark. In short song-flight, male rises steeply upward, with fluttering wings, to display striking black wing pattern, then flips over & nose-dives with wings folded to the same perch. Its called "Hoopoe" Lark not because of the long beak, but because of the slow, floppy start to the song flight, similar to that of Hoopoe. Female is noticeably smaller with shorter-beak.

Since this is named "Greater", there must be "Lesser". Lesser Hoopoe Lark is found in similar habitat in Somalia & it is endemic to Somalia.