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Species Guide
A photo of a Spike-heeled Lark (Chersomanes albofasciata)
Spike-heeled Lark

Spike-heeled Lark

Chersomanes albofasciata

The Spike-heeled Lark, known scientifically as Chersomanes albofasciata, is a modestly adorned species of lark belonging to the Alaudidae family. This bird is characterized by its distinctive long bill, which is reminiscent of a spike, lending the species its common name.

Identification Tips

When attempting to identify the Spike-heeled Lark, one should look for its long, spike-like bill and its streaked brown plumage, which provides excellent camouflage against the dry shrubland and grasslands it inhabits. The bird's underparts are paler, and it has a white outer tail feather, which is noticeable in flight.


The natural habitats of the Spike-heeled Lark are the subtropical or tropical dry shrubland and the subtropical or tropical seasonally wet or flooded lowland grassland. These environments provide the perfect backdrop for this ground-dwelling bird.


This lark is found predominantly in southern Africa, where it flits and forages across the landscape.


The Spike-heeled Lark is known for its terrestrial lifestyle, often seen walking along the ground in search of food. Its flight is characterized by a series of rapid wingbeats.


There are ten recognized subspecies of the Spike-heeled Lark, each adapted to specific regions within southern Africa. These include the Benguella Rufous Long-billed Lark, Ovampo Rufous Long-billed Lark, and the Damara Rufous Long-billed Lark, among others. Each subspecies exhibits slight variations in plumage and size, adapted to their unique environments.

Similar Species

The Spike-heeled Lark was once considered to be part of the genus Certhilauda and has been known by other names such as the Rufous Long-billed Lark. It can be confused with other larks in the region, but its long bill and habitat preferences are key distinguishing features.

Conservation status

The IUCN Red List has classified the Spike-heeled Lark as Least Concern, indicating that, for now, this species does not face any immediate threat of extinction.

Spike-heeled Lark Sounds

Recorded by: © 
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Spike-heeled Larks on Birda


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Greater Hoopoe-Lark

Alaemon alaudipes
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