Emberiza impetuani (Lark-like bunting) 

Vaalstreepkoppie [Afrikaans]; Leeuwerikgors [Dutch]; Bruant des rochers [French]; Lerchenammer [German]; Escrevedeira-cotovia [Portuguese]

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Emberiza impetuani (Lark-like bunting) 
Emberiza impetuani (Lark-like bunting)

Lark-like bunting. [photo Trevor Hardaker ]

Top right: Lark-like bunting. [photo Trevor Hardaker ]                Bottom right: Lark-like bunting. [photo Johann Grobbelaar ]

Distribution and habitat

Occurs from southern DRC, Angola and western Zambia south to southern to southern Africa. Here it is especially common in the western of South Africa and Namibia, extending into Botswana, southern Zimbabwe and the Limpopo and North-West Provinces. It generally prefers arid, open shrubland, desert grassland, dry watercourses, sparse grassland or shrubland on rocky ridges, eroded gullies, road verges and occasionally gardens of Karoo villages.

Distribution of Lark-like bunting in southern Africa, based on statistical smoothing of the records from first SA Bird Atlas Project ( Animal Demography unit, University of Cape Town; smoothing by Birgit Erni and Francesca Little). Colours range from dark blue (most common) through to yellow (least common). See here for the latest distribution from the SABAP2.  

Predators and parasites

It has been recorded as prey of Glaucidium perlatum (Pearl-spotted owlet).

Movements and migrations

As it prefers to live in arid areas it is highly nomadic, travelling great distances in search of rainfall.

Food 

It mainly eats grass seeds, foraging on bare ground with scattered shrubs and stones. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:

  • Seeds
    • grass
      • Aristida (bristle grasses)
      • Enneapogon
      • Schmidtia
      • Eragrostis (love grasses)
      • Stipagrostis (bushman grasses)
      • wheat
    • forbs
      • Atriplex semibaccata (Creeping saltbush)
  • Insects

Breeding

  • Monogamous solitary nester, building an untidy cup (see image below) of coarse twigs lined with fine rootlets and the awns of desert grasses, such as Bushman grass (Stipagrostis ciliata). It is typically placed on a rocky ridge or on stony ground, often at the base of a small rock or beneath a shrub.
Emberiza impetuani (Lark-like bunting)   

Lark-like bunting nest with eggs, Etosha, Namibia. [photo Warwick Tarboton ]

 
  • Egg-laying season varies according to rainfall, but it is generally from September-April.
  • It lays 2-4 eggs, which are incubated for about 11-13 days.
  • Little is known about the chicks, other then that they stay in the nest for about 12-13 days.

Threats

Not threatened.

References

  • Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG 2005. Roberts - Birds of southern Africa, VIIth ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town. 

 

 

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