Friedmann's Lark Mirafra pulpa


Justification of Red List Category
This is a very poorly known species which has only been observed erratically and may have a very small population or may simply evade detection through its movements. Further information is required about this lark's abundance, ecology, seasonal movements and possible threats.

Population justification
The population size of this species has not been quantified, but it is described as extremely rare.

Trend justification
This species is very poorly known, but the population is suspected to be in decline because its habitat is probably prone to overgrazing and conversion to cultivation (del Hoyo et al. 2004).

Distribution and population

Mirafra pulpa is a very poorly known species, but despite a lack of known threats, it is apparently rare. It is known from roughly 51 dated records or discrete periods of occurrence, and all but eight records are from Kenya (Bradley 2020). Here, it is known from seven specimens (Bradley 2020) and several sight records (although these include an observation of at least 150 individuals), principally from Tsavo East, West National Parks (Lack 1977), and also Buffalo Springs and Shaba National Reserves (N. Borrow in litt. 2016). The type specimen was collected in Ethiopia in 1912 (Lack 1977), but it has only been seen there once since, in 1998 (J. Ash and D. Turner in litt. 1999). There are also several records from Mkomazi Game Reserve in Tanzania during 1994-1996 (Lack 1997) and a single record from south of Arusha in August 1998 (N. Baker in litt. 1999).


It appears to prefer fairly dense grassland with bushes, possibly avoiding drier areas, and feeds on grass seeds, small grasshoppers and beetles (Lack 1977). It has been suggested that the species is migratory since birds have been found among other migrants attracted to the lights of Ngulia Safri Lodge in Tsavo West, and it is only found at certain times of year (e.g. during the rains in Tsavo) (Lack 1977, 1997; Bradley 2020), but there is no information on the extent or pattern of any movements. It is suggested by Bradley (2020) that this species may be associated to some degree with volcanic soils, which may help explain its patchy distribution. It is best identified by its characteristic song: a single long drawn-out 'hoo-ee-oo' note, with a slight emphasis on the middle part, repeated at 1-2 second intervals. This is given during undulating display flights, or from the tops of small bushes, and is also often given at night (Lack 1977). The species is solitary and rather wary.


None are known

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
None are known.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey all historical sites and other potentially suitable habitat, focusing on its distinctive song. Study its abundance, ecology, seasonal movements and possible threats.


13-14cm. 22g. Small, rufous-toned lark with pale supercilium. Has rufous-brown centres to greater coverts, a rufous wingpanel, white throat and buff-underparts. Similar spp. Very similar in appearance to Singing Bushlark M. cantillans but the latter has blackish-brown feather centres. Voice A diagnostic "hoo-eee-oo" whistle repeated every 1-2 seconds.


Text account compilers
Clark, J.

Ash, J.S., Baker, N., Benstead, P., Borrow, N., Butchart, S., Donald, P., Evans, M., Martin, R., Robertson, P., Starkey, M., Symes, A., Turner, D. & Westrip, J.R.S.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Species factsheet: Mirafra pulpa. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 26/11/2022. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2022) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 26/11/2022.