Lark Hybrid Zone
Lark was only recently recognized as a full species (see p.12)
after a study examined the group of closely related larks
to which it belongs.
examination of these confiding birds reveals clear contrasts
between Barlows and Karoo Larks. Barlows Lark
is relatively easily distinguished by its clear, unstreaked
flanks and heavier bill. Upperpart coloration is more compli-cated,
as populations of both species on
the white coastal sands show cold brown upperparts, which
changes in the inland populations, on the redder sands, to
a reddish-brown in Karoo Lark, and a sandy-peach colour in
Barlows Lark. There are also subtle differences in call.
Despite the fact that Barlows and Karoo Lark are each
well-differentiated species, a recent study discovered that
they do hybridize over a narrow zone between Port Nolloth
and Alexander Bay. The only place where this zone is publicly
accessible is in the vicinity of Port Nolloth itself. The
best way to distinguish hybrids is by flank streaking: pure
Barlows Larks show none of this (see picture above),
while pure Karoo Larks show marked streaking. Hybrids typically
show an intermediate streaking pattern, with faint scattered
streaks on the flanks. Barlows Larks tend to prefer
the more arid, open habitat towards Alexander Bay and into
Namibia, while Karoo Larks prefer the denser scrub found further
inland, and their range extends southwards into much of Namaqualand.
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Gibbs reports back from Gough
Island! Read the blog!
26/09/09: New Cape
Town Pelagics trip report from trips of 12 and 19 September
Birdwatching Fair at Rutland Water proved very successful,
with sunny weather and over 20,000 visitors. Callan's "Birding
Namibia and the Okavango" was the most highly-attended
lecture on the Saturday, with over 240 people. Congratulations
to the winners of the Birding Africa competition and the
African Bird Club raffle that we helped sponsor!
12/08/09: New Cape
Town Pelagics trip reports from August and July 2009.
Shearwater and more!
sub-adult Black Sarrowhawk visits our garden again! Read
on about Raptor Research in the Western Cape.
Town's Verreauxs' Eagle Chick has grown! And its sibling
never had a chance to hatch. See the pictures of the chick,
its nest and the breeding pair. Find out more about the Western
Cape Raptor Research Programme.
27/07/09: To follow modern nomenclature and systematics, we've
adopted the IOC
World Bird List, Version 2.1.
13/07/09: The 8th
African Bird ID Challenge has launched! Win a 50% discount
on a Cape Town Pelagics
trip, a copy of Southern
African Birdfinder, or African
Bird Club membership for 1 year.
6 July 09: Cape
White-eye research in our garden.
2 July 09: Cape
Town's Verreauxs' Eagle Chick has hatched! See the pictures
of the chick, its nest and the breeding pair. Find out more
about the Western Cape Raptor Research Programme.
2 July 09: Campbell
Fleming, a Cape Town scholar, avid birder and photographer,
joined Birding Africa last month as an intern. Click here,
to see what he got up to.
2 July 09: New pelagic
trip reports from the Cape Town Pelagics trips in June
2009. Highlights: Slenderbilled
Prion and Leach's Storm Petrel
30 july 09: Our latest Cape Fynbos and Karoo trip
reports feature Hottentot
Warbler and other fynbos and Karoo endemics...
26 June 09: Tungsten
mining threatens RAMSAR site, South Africa's Verlorenvlei.
Read the Media Release.
22 June 09: Claire
Spottiswoode, one of the Cape Birding Route founders,
was part of the exploratory team at Mount Mabu. The mountain
is part of the newly discovered largest
rainforest in Southern Africa.
11 June 09: A colour-ringed
Black Sparrowhawk visits the Birding Africa office garden.
Read why it's a 10 months old male!
14 June 09:
at the office of The Cape Birding Route, Birding Africa
and Cape Town Pelagics.
31 May 09:
Michel Watelet wins the 7th African Bird Club & Birding Africa
ID Challenge. Test your African birding skills and WIN
Africa Cape town day trip or a copy of the Birdfinder!
30 May 09:
A tragedy unfolds at Kommetjie south of Cape town as 44 beached
Killer Whales were shot. Click here for more details and
14 March 09: Raptor
Watch in Cape Town on 14 March 09