Sunday, May 9, 2021

Horned Lark

The male horned lark is brown/gray above, pale/white on the belly, has a black mask and yellow on the head and throat, a black chest band, has black outer tail feathers and black "horns" in the summer that it can raise and lower. 

Recent genetic analysis has suggested it be separated into four species, but currently there are 42 subspecies. The options for the two I saw would be the Mohave horned lark which is found in the deserts of southeastern California and the Sonora horned lark found in the deserts of southwestern U.S. Because the Imperial Valley is part of the Colorado Desert, which is part of the Sonoran Desert, my guess is that these were Sonora horned larks. 

I saw two of them along Vendel Road yesterday, part of the Sonny Bono Salton Sea NWR, unit 1, at some distance. I'd never seen a horned lark before, but had heard of them and guessed that this was what there were.  

1 comment:

  1. The variety of birds in one place is pretty amazing. You continue to find new species that you haven't seen before.