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2012-06-08
Tipped to become mainland Africa's first recorded bird extinction – Liben Lark.


Liben Lark [ Sidamo Lark] - Heteromirafra sidamoensis - is listed as Critically Endangered. It has an extremely small range [a single grassy plain in southern Ethiopia] and its range size is decreasing. The remaining habitat is rapidly being degraded, and the number of mature individuals is decreasing [with a population of possibly fewer than 100 birds]. The Liben Lark is tipped to become mainland Africa's first recorded bird extinction.

Liben Lark

The Liben Lark or Sidamo Lark - Heteromirafra sidamoensis – is endemic to Ethiopia. Its natural habitats are dry savanna and subtropical or tropical dry lowland grasslands.

Description

A small, large-headed, short-tailed lark with a pale buff stripe down centre of crown. The feathers on its back are brownish, each with a blackish centre and a cream to white edge, resulting in a streaky appearance. The short, thin tail is browner than the back, and the underparts are white or buff. It has a long, slender neck and large head, with a pale buff stripe running down the centre of the crown. The bill is pale yellowish and the legs are pale brown to pinkish. The sexes are similar.

Call

It calls with a series of melodic, clipped whistles, typically heard as it flies high in the air.

Food

This larks diet consists of invertebrates, plant matter and seeds.

Breeding

The nest is a grass bowl on the ground.

Conservation Status – Critically Endangered

Its occurrence in just one small region, in which there are no protected areas, makes the Liben lark highly vulnerable to any threats. Currently, the greatest threat appears to be the loss of its habitat.

A lifeline to prevent Africa's first recorded bird extinction.
This globally threatened bird has now been thrown a lifeline thanks to funds raised, £242,000 (US$395,000) by the British Birdwatching Fair held at Rutland Water August 2010. These funds will be used by the Ethiopian Wildlife and Natural History Society, the BirdLife Partner in the country, to work with local communities to reduce the impact of over-grazing livestock and prevent conversion of the land to arable farming. Helping the grasslands recover will benefit both the lark and the local inhabitants.

Birdwatching

Ask Aves Birding Tours/Safaris/Adventures to create a custom tour for you to see these Critically Endangered Larks.


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