By Fouad Itani
The Horned lark (Eremophila alpestris) is a distinctive-looking lark from the Alaudidae family. It measures 16cm in length, with a wingspan of 32cm, and an average weight of 45g.
The Horned lark is by far the most beautiful lark to occur in the region. It has a crescent-shaped patch on its breast, a black stripe on its face, and beautiful horns on its head made out of tufts of feathers. Both sexes look alike, but the female colors are a little duller.
The Horned lark is a ground-dwelling bird usually found in open rocky areas and areas with short grass where it feeds mainly on seeds, but during the breeding season it will also consume insects and sometimes berries.
In Lebanon the Horned lark is a resident bird that usually breeds at or above the tree line. The nest is found on the ground, it is made out of plant materials and feathers. The female lays an average of 3 eggs that she incubates for two weeks. Both parents feed and care for their chicks who will fledge in 10 to 12 days. The parents will continue to take care of their chicks for another week.
Unfortunately Horned larks in Lebanon are still being targeted by irresponsible hunters during and off hunting season at their breeding grounds.