The Raso Lark : Least Known Bird

raso-lark-photo-credit-edwin-winckel

The Raso Lark is considered one of the least known birds in the Western Palaearctic region, because of it’s remoteness and lack of study. (This was one of the main reasons I choose this creature for our up coming project) The Raso Lark is also considered critically endangered. They have a restricted range and are found only on Raso islet in the Cape Verde Islands. There they are most commonly found on level plains with volcanic soil, associated with small vegetated patches along dry stream beds.

Relatively small in size, the bird can range from sizes between 14 – 18 cm. As for markings, the adult population has streaks growing paler around the chest with an erectile crest, as for it’s young it is considered an adult when it develops a reddish-brown town between the ears and tail with a pattern on the crown and back, before this change they tend to look mostly greyish brown in color. The Raso Lark has an enlarged bill, but this bill is not used for foraging, it is used for dominance displays among males. The bill itself is thick, robust, and dark in coloring. While in flight they display a short tail with short broad wings. The tail and edge of the wings are white.

The Raso Lark feeds by digging in the ground for insect larvae, and bulbs of the nutsedge (plant common to the habitat). They also feed on grass seeds, as well as insects: Butterflies, moths, and grasshoppers. Since the Raso Lark is confined to a small islands-Cape Verde Islands, during times of drought and little rain, they survive by gathering and eating subterranean bulbs of the nutsedges. The females, even though smaller in size still provide by gathering bulbs, while the males stay in the burrows and vigorously watch over, protecting from outside intruders.

They as well are highly dependent upon rain fall, yet they live in a currently dry region. Raso Lark breeding starts after a rain shower, thus breeding is very unpredictable with the Raso Lark, simply because it is governed by the slight and irregular rains. This has an effect upon their overall population. Currently,  droughts have cause them to mate less. Currently their population is limited to a small amount. And when they do mate, their young have a serious predictor to be on the lookout for.  The Giant Gecko eats most chicks and eggs before they are hatched and fledged. Not only do these animals have both the current environmental problems effecting their reproduction, but they as well have perdictors in growing numbers. In short, they are an interesting species with an uncertain fate at this point.

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2 thoughts on “The Raso Lark : Least Known Bird

  1. Good example of a bird species that may be directly impacted by climate change. If climate change causes droughts in its habitat–it may lead to reduced breeding. Very interesting.

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