Shore Lark

Scientific name: Eremophila alpestris

Did you know: Shore Larks are also known as “horned larks” in North America, inspired by their distinctive black ‘horns’ made of feather tufts.

What Do Shore Larks Look Like? (how to identify them)

Shore Larks captivate with their unique yellow and black facial patterns and notable black feather tufts resembling horns. These birds, predominantly coastal dwellers, display a mottled brown plumage with a lighter underside. 

Their presence varies each winter, with numbers ranging from a few hundred to rare sightings.

Differences Between Male And Female Shore Larks

Male and female Shore Larks share similar appearances throughout the year, though the males boast a slightly brighter plumage. During the breeding season, males exhibit more pronounced ‘horn’ feathers and a vividly contrasting head pattern.

What Do Shore Larks Eat?

Feasting primarily on seeds and small insects, Shore Larks adapt their diet seasonally. In warmer months and migration periods, they may include more insects in their diet.

Where Do Shore Larks Live? (inc. migration info)

Shore Larks are primarily winter visitors and passage migrants in the UK, often seen along the eastern coasts. Their UK habitats include saltmarshes, shingle shores, and occasionally, neighbouring fields. 

These birds are part of a global population of about 7 million pairs, with UK wintering numbers around 100.

Bird Calls & Songs (the unique voices of Shore Larks)

The Shore Lark’s call is a soft, melodious tune, blending seamlessly into the tranquil coastal landscapes they inhabit. Their songs add a symphony to the serene coastlines during their winter stay.

Fun Shore Lark Facts (kid friendly)

  • Shore Larks can raise two black feathers on their head to form ‘horns.’
  • They change locations based on the severity of winter each year.
  • Shore Larks are expert foragers, shuffling across beaches to find food.
  • In the UK, they are mostly seen along the east coast.
  • The Shore Lark was once a breeding bird in Scotland but is now a winter visitor.
  • Their nests are often hidden and made with great care, lined with soft materials.
  • These birds can be seen in the UK from October to April.
  • Shore Larks are known for their distinctive yellow face with a black eye mask.

Shore Lark Images

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Male
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Female
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Hatchling
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Nestling
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Chick
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Fledgling
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Juvenile

Facts About The Shore Lark

Diet: Seeds and small insects.
Bird Family: Larks
Length: 14-17cm
Wingspan: 30-35cm
Weight: 35-45g
Scientific Name: Eremophila alpestris

The Shore Lark Can Be Seen In The UK During The Following Months

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • October
  • November
  • December