Birds of Seabrook Island

COAST BIRDS
  Contents
  Index
WORLD BIRDS
  Contents
  Index

ANECDOTES

  Horned Lark
 
 

BACK - NEXT

 

Species Acct.
Loons
Grebes
Procellarids
Pelicans
Herons
Ibises
Storks
Vultures
Flamingos
Waterfowl
Raptors
Turkeys
Quail
Rails
Limpkin
Cranes
Shorebirds
Gulls
Terns
Auks
Doves
Parrots
Cuckoos
Owls
Goatsuckers
Swifts
Hummers
Kingfishers
Woodpckrs
Flycatchers
Shrikes
Vireos
Crows/Jays
Larks
Swallows
Tits
Nuthatches
Creepers
Wrens
Kinglets
Gnatcatchers
Thrushes
Mimids
Starlings
Pipits
Waxwings
NW Warblers
Tanagers
NWSparrows
Cardinalines
Icterids
Finches
OWSparrows

TOP

       
  Order Passeriformes
   Suborder Passeres - Oscines (Song Birds)
      Parvorder Passerida (Superfamily Passeroidea or Sylvioidea)
            Family Alaudidae - Larks
  Passerines are generally smaller than non-passerines. They have a perching foot with three toes directed forward and the one backward with locking tendons to facilitate perching when their tendons are flexed. All passerines scratch by bringing the foot over the wing. Incubation ranges from 11 -21 days. Young hatch blind with little or no down and spend 10-15 days or so in the nest - development is rapid and parents provide care beyond fledging.
Oscines are passerines with complex syringeal musculature used to produce varied vocalizations. 
Larks are placed as the first family of the Superfamily Passeroidea by Sibley and Monroe (1990), just following the Sylvioidea, and within the Superfamily Sylvioidea by Clements (2007), Wikipedia, and the Tree of Life. 
Larks are terrestrial birds of open country. They are small birds with long, pointed wings and unique tarsi (rounded behind).
     
     
  Horned Lark, Eremophila alpestris
 
   Cornell     USGS     Wiki     EoL
        WINTER - Local / Accidental
           OPEN FIELDS. PRAIRIE, TUNDRA
 
 
  The delicate Horned Lark has several color variants. Our representative has a gray body with some brown or tawny wash on the back of the head and at the base of the tail. The inner tail feathers are pale and the darker outer feathers have a white edge. There is a black "bib" or breast-band, a dark mask on the face and short "horns." The face and throat has a yellow wash. Their flight is buoyant.
Horned Lark
     
Horned Lark.
Pawnee National Grassland, CO.
Photo by Ed Konrad
       
  RANGE: Horned Larks are widespread across all Arctic regions (migrating south to the US in winter) and are resident over most of the remainder of North America (except for the southeastern coastal area), extending south into Mexico. They winter south to South America. Their use of farm fields for breeding has greatly expanded their range eastward and they are regular inhabitants of airport margins. Large winter flocks may also include Snow Buntings and Lapland Longspurs.
  BREEDING: Monogamous. One brood in the north (2-3 in the south?). Their nest is a shallow depression selected by the female and lined with plant materials with a rim of pebbles or clods on the exposed side. The female lays 3-4 (2-5) eggs which she incubates for 10-12 days. Young are altricial and leave the nest after 9-12 days. They can fly in another week. Both parents provide care. Females may perform a distraction display if her nest is threatened. She renests about a week after the brood fledges in more southern latitudes. Juveniles form post-breeding flocks.
  DIET: Their diet includes spiders, snails, and a variety of seeds. They forage on the ground in open areas.
  VOICE: Their song is a delicate series of high and weak, bell-like tinkling notes and warbles.
  NOTES
   Checklists -
      Coastal - uncommon (local) permanent resident. Hilton Head - uncommon winter visitor. Cape Romain - accidental.
   CBC: ACE 0, 13, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 2; Charleston 0, 4, 15, 7, 0, 0, 0, 0;
            Litchfield/Pawley's Island 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0.
   SCBBA: A few upstate records and more in central areas (into Williamsburg Co.). No coastal records.
   P&G: Uncommon winter visitor.
   M&P: Since 1979, it has become a fairly common breeder in the upstate extending  to 55 - 65 km of the coast. It is still very rare on the coast in winter with only two reports at Huntington Beach in 1986 and 1987.
   Avendex: 3 reports including 10 birds at Huntington Beach in 1987, 2 in 1986 and one in Horry County in 2002.
   Potter: These are birds of barren ground, stubble fields, airports, golf courses, and other areas of extensive short vegetation. They are rather localized winter residents in eastern NC and central SC. They are most numerous from December through March in the piedmont. The species breeds from the NC mountains eastward to Martin and Washington Counties in NC and Sumter in SC.
  ●  They are unlikely to be found on Seabrook but keep an eye open on the golf courses... Check grassy fields on Johns Island (stop and listen for their delicate tinkling notes). Accidental. They often inhabit grassy areas around airports. One was recorded on Deveaux Bank on the Sea Islands Christmas count in 2011-12.
       
NEXT
 

KEY:    ■ Seabrook list     □ Kiawah list