Results 1 to 4 of 4

Thread: Galerida Lark, Alicante Province, Spain

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Nafferton, East Yorkshire, UK

    Default Galerida Lark, Alicante Province, Spain

    Had lots of Crested Larks in scrub surrounding a salt lake in Alicante province. Some birds made me think Thekla and Ive had it suggested as an ID for the bird in the main holiday article on my blog. Was just wanting some thoughts as opinion was split on Birdforum. Pics aren't great im afraid.

    Birding Yorkshire

  2. #2
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2007


    Hi James,

    Hope you don't mind, I'm now also keen to see what these guys say, especially Brian et al - so I'm attaching the image that I ran through Photoshop Shadows and Highlights, I believe it helps and many seem to be miss seeing this image as it's further down your blog


    Attached Images Attached Images

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Algarve, Portugal



    I see G. cristata and G. theklae every day here but still have problems in making the distinction between some birds. Despite what the books say I find great difficulty in applying plumage details and shape and size of crest to separate the two. The most reliable criterion for me is the bill (although beware, there are some gradational differences and some birds are difficult or impossible to ID on this feature alone). Crested has a significantly longer bill with a slightly concave lower mandible giving the bill an overall de-curved appearance as on this bird here:

    Thekla has a shorter bill in which the lower mandible is straight (I have never noticed it being convex as stated in Collins), the overall bill shape being more "conical".

    From the practical point of view seeing this difference in the field is not always easy because both species are often feeding very actively on ground which is similar in colour to the birds themselves. Seeing a perched bird on a post, etc. which gives a clear profile view of the bill against a pale background makes the distinction much easier.

    It is a pity that your photograph is not clearer, but what I am seeing is almost certainly Thekla.

    I cannot lay my hands on a good photo of Thekla at this moment, but if I do so I will post it.


  4. #4
    Moderator Brian S's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Suffolk, UK



    Like Colin, I have found it really hard to come up with 'concrete' plumage features to separate Thekla from Crested. There may sometimes be subtle features that observers like to grasp, like a more contrasting head pattern (with a nice pale eye-ring), outer tail feathers, underwing (this is often a good feature on birds overhead, but beware colour reflected back up from the ground, etc.), the spots on the breast are often said to be larger on Thekla, but I prefer the structural features.

    Thekla, possibly, seems a bit more 'compact' (?, clutching at straws here); the crest may be subtly shorter on Thekla: when fresh, the primary projection is sometimes less on Thekla (?); but the bill is the clincher. As Colin states, the bill is longer on Crested (giving proportionally a less broad-based appearance), with a distinctly concave lower edge to the lower mandible (making the bill seem to curve downwards); Thekla has a shorter bill, with a straight or convex edge to the lower mandible. Of course, I am looking at this in a southern Iberian context and it is important to note that bill length varies for races of both species.

    BWP gives the following measurements (I have used bill to nostril as this is visible in the field, rather than bill to skull, which is not).

    Thekla (Spain) - B(n) mean 11.3mm (range 10.1-12.4)
    Crested (Spain) - B(n) mean 13.9mm (range 13-15)

    From these we can see that there is no overlap in measurements, and that the bill of Thekla averages 2.6mm shorter than Crested, which should give a different impression in the field.

    Can any of the above be applied to the images of yours? It seems to fall down to individual perceptions of the bill length and shape (though I might be persuaded that the crest is shorter than Crested and the head pattern might be a little contrasting). I am struggling as the photos are not great, but I feel that the bill is a touch shorter and less downcurved than I would expect on Crested, so on this basis would pragmatically plump for Thekla.

    Brian S

Similar Threads

  1. Birding Cadiz Province 2012
    By john c in forum Surfbirds Noticeboard
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: February 22nd, 2012, 09:45 PM
  2. Cream Coloured Courser, Black-crowned Sparrow-Lark & Greater Hoopoe Lark
    By Jem Babbington in forum Been Birding Today?
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: July 15th, 2011, 03:27 AM
  3. Birding in Cadiz Province - the webpage
    By john c in forum Surfbirds Noticeboard
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: February 25th, 2011, 10:05 AM
  4. Birding In Cadiz Province
    By john c in forum Information Wanted
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: November 17th, 2010, 03:10 PM
  5. Birdwatching in Alicante Spain
    By GrahamCritchell in forum Say Hello
    Replies: 15
    Last Post: May 11th, 2009, 10:09 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts