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Species Guide
A photo of a Greater Hoopoe-Lark (Alaemon alaudipes)
Greater Hoopoe-Lark

Greater Hoopoe-Lark

Alaemon alaudipes

The Greater Hoopoe-Lark, Alaemon alaudipes, is a passerine bird of notable elegance. It is a large, long-legged, and slender-bodied lark with a distinctive down-curved bill, reminiscent of the hoopoe, which lends the species its name. The plumage is a harmonious blend of sandy grey on the upper parts, with a buffy white underside. The face is adorned with dark markings, including a line through the eye and whisker-like lines from the base of the bill running under the eye. The breast is spotted, adding to its striking appearance.

Identification Tips

To identify the Greater Hoopoe-Lark, look for its sizeable down-curved bill, with the nostril opening exposed, and a bifid tip on the tongue. The hind claw is short and straight. Males are distinguished by their more prominent markings and slightly longer bills, while females are slightly smaller with less conspicuous features.


This species thrives in arid, desert, and semi-desert regions, where it can be seen foraging on the ground, often in the company of its mate.


The Greater Hoopoe-Lark has a broad range, from the Cape Verde Islands, across northern Africa, through the Arabian Peninsula, and extending to Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India.


These birds are typically observed alone or in pairs, moving with a combination of running and walking spurts as they probe the ground for food. They are known to feed on a variety of items, including the fruiting bodies of certain fungi. During the heat of the day, they may seek refuge in the burrows of Uromastyx lizards.

Song & Calls

The male's courtship display is a visual and auditory spectacle, involving a fluttering ascent followed by a nosedive to a perch. The song flight is characterized by slow, flappy wing-strokes, and the song itself consists of trilled whistles and clicks, transcribed as a "tee-tee-tee" followed by a prolonged "tee-hoo." The typical call is a rolling "zreee" or "too."


Breeding occurs mainly after the first rains, with the season in India spanning from March to July. The nest is a cup made of small sticks, placed either on a low bush or on the ground. Two or three eggs are laid, and both sexes share incubation duties. The female may perform distraction displays to protect the nest or young.

Similar Species

There are no similar species mentioned in the provided content.

Diet and Feeding

The Greater Hoopoe-Lark's diet includes insects, other invertebrates, small lizards, and seeds. They are adept at foraging in their arid habitats and are capable of surviving in very dry conditions.

Conservation status

The IUCN Red List classifies the Greater Hoopoe-Lark as Least Concern, indicating that the species does not currently face a significant risk of extinction.

Greater Hoopoe-Lark Sounds

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