SPECIES

Sand Lark Alaudala raytal Scientific name definitions

Prasad Ganpule and Per Alström
Version: 2.0 — Published May 7, 2022

Demography and Populations

Introduction

There are no dedicated studies on the demography and population sizes of Sand Lark. At least in Gujarat in western India, the Sand Lark is fairly common in suitable habitat. It is seen in good numbers especially along the coast in salt pans and mud flats in Gujarat – more than 15 to 20 individuals are commonly seen in an area of about 300 m x 300 m. It is frequently seen in suitable habitat over its entire range.

Measures of Breeding Activity

No detailed studies have been done on breeding activity. It is not known at what age breeding may first take place. The details of breeding success and the number of fledged nestlings per nest are not known. Second broods have been suspected, but not proven, although second broods might be common, since juveniles are seen until September in Gujarat (PG).

Life Span and Survivorship

There is no information regarding the life span and survivorship of the Sand Lark. The generation length is estimated to be three years, but further details are needed (47).

Disease and Body Parasites

Bill deformity has been noted. The bill deformity, known as Avian Keratin Disorder (AKD), seems to be present in Sand Larks of both subspecies. However, the reasons for the bill deformities are not known.

Bill deformities have been noted in different parts of the range:

1) Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh - a female with an overgrown lower mandible (11)

2) Jamuna River, Bangladesh - two individuals with both mandibles overgrown (48)

3) Pong Dam, Himachal Pradesh

4) Salt pans near Morbi, Gujarat - The bill is deformed, with very long lower mandible

5) Salt pans near Morbi, Gujarat

An individual with a tumorous growth on its breast was photographed near Morbi in Gujarat, India. The movements of this individual were normal; it was feeding and foraging with other individuals and it seemed like the tumor was not affecting it much. The causes of this tumor and its effects on the bird are not known.

Details of other diseases are not available.

Causes of Mortality

The main cause of nest failure and chick mortality in Gujarat, India is the washing away of nests with eggs or chicks in them (5). Since the nests are on the ground, heavy rains in the monsoon season often destroy them.

Larks are prey for many raptor species. However, there is no data available regarding the Sand Lark being prey for these birds.

Data regarding causes of mortality from other parts of its range are lacking.

Population Spatial Metrics

No information available.

Population Status

Numbers

There are no estimates available regarding population size.

The Sand Lark is locally common in many parts of Gujarat, India, especially along salt pans near the coast and on mudflats (PG). At any feeding site in the salt pans, more than 20 individuals are commonly seen. Further, after the breeding season, many juveniles gather at such sites, indicating successful breeding. Certainly, it is not rare in these parts. The population size in Iran and Pakistan is not known.

Sand Lark is common in Pakistan, locally common in northern India and Nepal, local in Bangladesh, common in central and south Myanmar, and fairly common but very local in Bhutan.

Trends

The population is said to be stable (47). However, a decline in frequency of reporting is also indicated (49). As per the State of India's Birds report of 2020 (49), there is a moderate long-term population decline, while the current trend is uncertain. The long-term trend indicates a –53.58% change in the index of abundance (frequency of reporting) in 2014/15 relative to before 2000, which would indicate that there has been a 53.58% decline in frequency of reporting over that time period; the CI (confidence interval) for this is 26.16%.

Population Regulation

No information available.

Recommended Citation

Ganpule, P. and P. Alström (2022). Sand Lark (Alaudala raytal), version 2.0. In Birds of the World (N. D. Sly, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.sanlar1.02