Asian Short-toed Lark Alaudala cheleensis Scientific name definitions

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



The Asian Short-toed Lark occurs in various open, dry habitats, such as dry steppe with bare patches and scattered bushes; saline flats with low herbs; and semi-desert and sandy desert with some shrubs.

Habitat in Breeding Range

In Mongolia, the Asian Short-toed Lark inhabits dry, open habitats, such as all types of steppe, open, dry valleys of lakes and rivers with scattered taller vegetation, such as chee grass (Achnatherum splendens), and saline soil in desert steppe and the Gobi desert (1, S.G., P.A.). It avoids tall dense vegetation and wet meadows for nesting, but may be seen in these habitats while feeding (S.G.). In China, the subspecies cheleensis occurs on sandy soils with sparse low herbs (e.g., Allium spp. and Artemisia spp.) and thin, low grass cover (with the soil clearly “shining through”), often with patches of Achnatherum spp. grass and low bushes of, e.g., Caragana spp., but also in dry agricultural fields (1). In the Xinjiang Province of westernmost China, the subspecies seebohmi is found in similar habitats as the subspecies cheleensis, but also in sandy desert and semi-desert habitats with scattered low bushes, as well as in sandy desert with tall bushes and substantial expanses of bare ground in between (1; referred to as kukunoorensis in this publication). In Kazakhstan, the subspecies leucophaea is said to occur in desert areas, mainly along the edges of, or in, dried-up salt marshes (8, 9).

Habitat in Nonbreeding Range

In winter, very few individuals remain in Mongolia, and these are found mainly in wheat fields and open dry steppe and open river valleys with tall plants such as chee grass (Achnatherum splendens) (S.G.). In China, the wintering habitat is similar to the breeding habitat (P.A.).

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. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.lstlar2.02