Asian Short-toed Lark Alaudala cheleensis Scientific name definitions

Per Alström, Sundev Gombobaatar, and Paul F. Donald
Version: 2.0 — Published October 24, 2023

Diet and Foraging


Food Capture and Consumption

The Asian Short-toed Lark feeds on the ground, either by walking or running around and stopping to pick up food items, or by sitting more or less still in the same spot for a longer period.


Major Food Items

The diet of the Asian Short-toed Lark is poorly known, but probably includes both seeds and invertebrates. In Mongolia, adults eat invertebrates in summer and seeds and buds of various plants in autumn and winter, including wheat and seeds of perennial plants in winter, and young in the nest are fed insect larvae, spiders and other arthropods (14). In Inner Mongolia, China, grasshopper nymphs (Orthoptera) is the main component (about 80%) of the nestlings’ diet (17).

Food Selection and Storage

Information needed.

Nutrition and Energetics

It has been shown that food availability is an important environmental factor inducing cellular stress in nestlings of the Asian Short-toed Lark (18).

Metabolism and Temperature Regulation

In winter and early spring, feeding individuals may puff up their feathers to increase insulation. While foraging on the ground under cold conditions, they frequently cover their legs and feet by their belly and flank feathers (G.S.).

In hot temperatures at midday, they often seek shelter from the sun in the shade of natural (rocks, tussocks, shrubs, other tall grasses, etc.) or artificial (poles, pylons, and other man-made constructions) structures. They may also open their mouths and lower their wings to regulate temperature. At midday on hot summer days, they may have a bath in open water to reduce the body temperature (G.S.).

Drinking, Pellet-Casting, and Defecation

The following is mainly based on G.S.'s observations. On hot days they may drink from small creeks, springs, ponds, lakes or other water sources. While drinking, they first dip their beaks into the water, and then tilt their heads backward to swallow the water. In the breeding season, single individuals and rarely pairs are seen at water sources, but in the non-breeding season, particularly in the autumn, large flocks may gather at water sources.

Recommended Citation

Alström, P., S. Gombobaatar, and P. F. Donald (2023). Asian Short-toed Lark (Alaudala cheleensis), version 2.0. In Birds of the World (P. G. Rodewald and B. K. Keeney, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.
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