Calandrella brachydactyla
English: Greater Short-toed Lark.
German: Kurzzehenlerche.
French: Alouette calandrelle.
Order: Passeriformes.
Family: Alaudidae.
13-14 cm.
The Greater Short-toed Lark can be confused with different species. Among all small larks, the Wood Lark is distinguished by its white eyebrow which meets at the nape. It is also recognizable by the black patch it has on the primary coverts. On the other hand, the Mediterranean Short-toed Lark has a breast with distinctive spots and lacks the black marks on the sides. Its tertials do not cover the primaries with the wing closed. Juvenile individuals of the Greater Short-toed Lark and the Mediterranean Short-toed Lark are very difficult to distinguish since both species at this age have short tertials and a very similar pattern on the breast. At this age, one would have to resort to the shape of the bill and the generally darker tone of the Mediterranean Short-toed Lark.
Both male and female have a very similar plumage. Size is a variable that can allow sexing of individuals with more extreme extension. On one hand, the male will have a wing length greater than 95mm, and the female has a wing length less than 85 mm.
It is possible to recognize 2 different ages:

Juvenile specimen: these individuals have a faint buff edge on the secondary coverts. They are also distinguished by their new plumage and their tertials do not cover the tip of the primaries with the folded wing.

Adult specimen: with wear, these individuals lose the narrow buff edge on the wing coverts, and in spring, they have a fairly worn plumage. Their tertials do cover (or are very close to) the tip of the primaries with the folded wing. Once the post-nuptial or post-juvenile molt process is completed, it is not possible to date the age using plumage design.
The Greater Short-toed Lark undergoes complete post-nuptial and post-juvenile molts, which generally end in September.
Primaries: 10 per wing.
Secundaries: 9 per wing.
Rectrices: 12.


Adult specimen:
Beak tip to pupil center:

Adult specimen


1.- Left wing primaries. 2.- Primaries. 3.- Details of the tips of the outer primaries. 4.- Details of the tips of the outer primaries. 5.- Details of the tips of the inner primaries. 6.- Details of the outer vane of the primaries. 7.- Details of the inner vane of P1. 8.- Left wing secondaries and tertials. 9.- Secondaries and tertials. 10.- Details of the tips of the secondaries. 11.- Details of the tertials. 12.- Details of the tertials. 13.- Left wing primaries, secondaries and tertials. 14.- Left wing primaries, secondaries and tertials. 15.- Primaries, secondaries and tertials. Primary coverts and greater coverts. 16.- Primaries, secondaries and tertials. Primary coverts and greater coverts + median coverts. 17.- Primaries, secondaries, tertials. Primary and secondary coverts (G, M, and L). Alulas. 18.- Details of the primary coverts. 19.- Details of the greater coverts. 20.- Details of the tertials + tertiary coverts. 21.- Details of the median and lesser coverts. 22.- Details of the secondary coverts. 23.- Rectrices. 24.- Rectrices. 25.- Details of the central rectrices (R1). 26.- Details of the tips of the rectrices. 27.- Rectrices + uppertail coverts. 28.- Details of the uppertail coverts. 29.- Details of the uppertail coverts. 30.- Uppertail coverts. 31.- Rectrices + undertail coverts. 32.- Details of the undertail coverts. 33.- Undertail coverts. 34.- Breast feathers. 35.- Details of the breast feathers. 36.- Breast feathers. 37.- Assembly of the throat feathers. 38.- Throat feathers. 39.- Primary undercoverts. 40.- Secondary undercoverts. 41.- Left scapula. 42.- Scapular feathers. 43.- Assembly of the left flank feathers. 44.- Left flank feathers. 45.- Assembly of the back feathers. 46.- Details of the back feathers. 47.- Back feathers. 48.- Assembly of the belly feathers. 49.- Belly feathers. 50.- Assembly of the crown feathers. 51.- Crown feathers.

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