Overview

Distribution

Range Description

Chersophilus duponti has two subspecies: the nominate is found in Spain (mainly east Castilla y Leónand Aragón, also west Castilla y Leónnear Portugese border, east Castilla-La Mancha and south-east Andalucía), Morocco (mostly in north-east, east of Midelt and the river Moulouya, also recent records from south of Great Atlas) and north Algeria (Hauts Plateaux); margaritae is found in Algeria (south slopes of Atlas Mountains east to Biskra), south-east Tunisia, northern Libya and coastal west Egypt. It is sparsely distributed and uncommon in most areas of its relatively small and fragmented range. Currently in Europe, the species is only found in continental Spain, which hosts around 13% of the global population of the (Suárez et al. 2008). This Spanish population declined by more than 20% during 1970-1990 (Tucker and Heath 1994), but this rate of decline was thought to have slowed during 1990-2000 (BirdLife International 2004), with the total Spanish population estimated at 13,000-15,000 pairs following surveys in 1988 (Garza and Suárez 1990). However, the original survey may have dramatically overestimated the size of the Spanish population, which may have comprised as few as 1,900 pairs in 1988 (Garza et al. 2003). Based upon census data collected in 2004-2007, the population was accurately assessed as 3,500-4,200 singing males (Suárez and Garza 2007) with declines noted in most areas (Vicente et al. 2006). Taking into account that the sex ratio is approximately 0.61 (Suárez et al. 2009), these results would mean the existence of roughly 2,200-2,700 pairs. Some authors consider that the sex ratio is even more biased towards males (Tella et al., 2004; Vögeli et al., 2007) which would lead to an even smaller population estimate. In Morocco, the species has a scattered and uneven distribution, and is not recorded in large areas of apparently suitable habitat. Recent work in Morocco calculated the extent of occurrence at 11,000 km2 including an effective area of occupancy within suitable habitat of 1,645 km2 (García et al. in press). This area was estimated to support a population of 15,400 singing males (García et al. in press). The number of birds in eastern populations is not known, but it appears the global population numbers a minimum of 35,000 individuals and may be considerably higher than this. There is some evidence of a skewed sex ratio suggesting that the effective population size may be lower (Tella et al. 2004; Vögeli et al. 2007). As well as declines noted in Spain, habitat loss has been recorded within the Moroccan breeding range, but its impact and overall trends are not well understood. Further information on population size and trends from the remainder of its North African range is needed, and this may lead to the species's reclassification in the future.

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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
It typically occupies open plains, shrub-steppe and high steppe dotted with wormwood (Artemisia spp.) and alfalfa (Stipa spp.) on hard or pebbly soils, avoiding sand (Isenmann and Moali 2000; Thévenot et al. 2003; Isenmann et al. 2005). In Spain, it occurs in areas with low bushes. It also occurs in cereal fields outside the breeding season. It is found from 50-1,550 m but mainly over 1,000 m. It feeds on the ground on insects and seeds. Breeding takes place in March-July.


Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
NT
Near Threatened

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2012

Assessor/s
BirdLife International

Reviewer/s
Butchart, S. & Symes, A.

Contributor/s
Isenmann, P., Smart, M. & Vögeli, M.

Justification
This species has not been well studied across much of its range, but moderately rapid declines are known to have occurred in some areas and are suspected elsewhere. Consequently it is classified as Near Threatened (del Hoyo et al. 2004).

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Status in Egypt

Resident breeder.

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Population

Population
García et al. (in press) estimate 15,400 singing males in Morocco, and Suárez and Garza (2007) estimate 3,500-4,200 singing males or 2,200-2,700 pairs in Spain. As the species's range extends patchily across North Africa, the minimum global population is likely to be 36,000 individuals.

Population Trend
Decreasing
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Threats

Major Threats
In parts of its range, overgrazing or undergrazing and agricultural development have caused a reduction in its preferred habitats and a considerable decrease in numbers (Isenmann et al. 2005; M. Smart in litt. 2004). Reforestation schemes also lead to a loss of suitable habitat and infrastructure development has led to fragmentation of habitat, particularly by the constriction and development of windfarms in Spain.The limited dispersal capabilities of the species reduce the exchange of individuals between populations and increases their extinction risk. Since gene flow between Iberian and African populations is extremely low (García et al. 2008 ) it is important that conservation plans for Iberian populations do not rely on the existence of the African populations of the same subspecies. A recent Spanish study has shown that the species' occurrence is principally determined by geographic isolation (extinction events were exclusively related to isolation), landscape matrix and patch size, rather than habitat quality (Vögeli et al. 2010). Isolation of local populations and reduced patch size has a compounding effect on population density since smaller populations suffer reduced singing repertoires which in turn reduce the rescuing from others (receiving immigrants), thus compromising population persistence (Laiolo and Tella 2008).

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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
Conservation Actions Underway
An EU Species Action Plan was published in 2008 (Inigo et al. 2008). The species has been studied in Spain and Morocco and was included as "Endangered" in the Spanish Red Data Book.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Continue monitoring Spanish and Moroccan populations. Adopt methods used in Spain and Morocco to survey populations elsewhere in North Africa. Determine appropriate levels of grazing to maintain habitat. Work with farmers and pastoralists to ensure that levels of grazing benefit the species.

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Wikipedia

Dupont's lark

Dupont's lark (Chersophilus duponti) is the only lark in the genus Chersophilus.

Description[edit]

Like most other larks, Dupont's lark is an undistinguished looking species on the ground. It is 17–18 cm long, slim, with a long neck, long legs and a fine slightly curved bill. It has a thin pale crown stripe and a dark-streaked breast.

Taxonomy and nomenclature[edit]

Dupont's lark was originally described by Louis Jean Pierre Vieillot in 1820.[2] This bird was named after the French naturalist Leonard Puech Dupont, who was the first to collect a specimen.[citation needed]

There are two races. C. d. duponti of Europe and north-west Africa is mainly brown-grey above and pale below. C. d. margaritae, which occupies most of the rest of the African range, has rufous upperparts.

Distribution[edit]

It breeds across much of north Africa, from Algeria to Egypt, and in Spain and France.[1] It is a non-migratory resident.

Behaviour[edit]

This is a very shy species, which runs for cover when disturbed. It is difficult to see while running among vegetation but it sometimes sings, standing upright on the edge of a low bush.

Breeding[edit]

This is a bird of open sandy semi-desert or steppe with some grass. Its nest is on the ground, with three or four eggs being laid. Its food is seeds and insects.

Vocalisations[edit]

Its song is a repeated thin, melancholic whistling phrase, very ventriloquial (difficult to locate) and a nasal whistle given mainly at dawn and dusk or at night.

References[edit]

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