Spike-heeled Lark Chersomanes albofasciata


Justification of Red List Category
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified, but it is believed to be large as the species is described as common in at least parts of its range (Keith et al. 1992).

Trend justification
The population is suspected to be in decline owing to the expansion of cultivation and plantations (del Hoyo et al. 2004).

Distribution and population

This species is found in central and south-west Angola, where it is sparse and local on the central plateau and common in the arid south-west; Namibia, where it is widespread and common; Botswana, where is is widespread but absent from the north-east; and South Africa, where it is widespread and often common on the Transvaal highveld, local in Natal, widespread and common to fairly common in Orange Free State, widespread in Cape Province, and particularly common in the Karoo, with isolated records from the Pietersburg plateau (Keith et al. 1992). An isolated population occurs in Tanzania near Kingerete, 30-50 km north of Arusha (Zimmerman et al. 1996).


The species is found in a range of habitats from well-grazed high rainfall grasslands (Keith et al. 1992) and overgrazed, treeless plains (Zimmerman et al. 1996), to shrublands in the Karoo, lawns and sports fields, desert margins and gravel plains (Keith et al. 1992). It occurs in pairs or groups of up to 10 birds (more commonly three to five) (Keith et al. 1992). It feeds on ants, termites, beetles, other invertebrates and seeds (Stipagrostis grasses and forbs Monsonia umbellata) (Keith et al. 1992). It has been recorded breeding cooperatively (Keith et al. 1992). The nest is a cup of dry grass and rootlets, placed in a scrape in sandy soil at the base of a grass tuft or shrub, usually on a base of stones, earth or sticks; clutch size is 2-3. The breeding season varies with the region (Keith et al. 1992). Adults are preyed on by the Red-necked Falcon Falco chicquera (Keith et al. 1992).


Text account compilers
Ekstrom, J., Harding, M., Butchart, S., Fisher, S.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Chersomanes albofasciata. Downloaded from on 14/08/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 14/08/2020.