Sand Lark Alaudala raytal Scientific name definitions

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



The Sand Lark is distributed from southeastern Iran to the Makran and Sindh coasts of Pakistan, and inland along the Indus River. This range includes northwest India (Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Haryana, and Gujarat), North India (east from Haryana to Arunachal Pradesh), Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, and Myanmar.

The range of the nominate subspecies (raytal) is from North India (east from Haryana, throughout southern and eastern Uttar Pradesh, the plains of Nepal Terai, Bihar, northwest Bengal, the Bhutan foothills, the Brahmaputra Valley in Assam, and Arunachal Pradesh, Bangladesh, and central and southern Myanmar. Sand Lark is also present in Madhya Pradesh (along the Narmada River), south of Hoshangabad and Mhow.

The subspecies adamsi (including krishnakumarsinhji) ranges from southeastern Iran (along the coast), Pakistan, and northwestern India (specifically Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, and Gujarat, possibly intergrading with raytal in Haryana) (11, 6, 1). The southern limit of its range stops at Valsad District in Gujarat. This is fairly close to Maharashtra, but there are no records (photographic or specimen) from this state (33).

The present status of Sand Lark in Madhya Pradesh, India is uncertain. Previously, it was present along the Narmada River. There are recent records from the sandy riverbanks along the Narmada River, Ken River, Beārma River, and Kanhan River (34). Hence, it can be found in suitable habitats throughout the state, though proper documentation is required to know the extent of its distribution in Madhya Pradesh. Its status in Rajasthan is uncertain. Although it is present around the Chambal River area near Dholpur and further east towards the border with Uttar Pradesh, its status in the western parts of the state, especially in the Desert National Park area (around Jaisalmer), is not known. There are photo records of Sand Lark from this area, and it is possible that it is a rare migrant or vagrant in the non-breeding season to this area. There are a few records from the Tal Chappar Sanctuary in Rajasthan in winter, though its status in this area remains uncertain (PG).

Sand Lark has been recorded in Jalalabad in northeastern Afghanistan, claiming to be the site of the first record of a Sand Lark in the country (35). This record has been questioned as it is not distinguished in print from the similar A. rufescens (now Turkestan Short-toed Lark (Alaudala heinei)) (6). There are no recent records of Sand Lark from Afghanistan on eBird.

Historical Changes to the Distribution

There have been no major changes to the distribution of Sand Lark in modern times.

The nominate subspecies (raytal) was known to occur in central and south Myanmar (previously Burma). Now it is more widespread, appearing in almost all parts of the country. Previously, the Sand Lark was not seen in the northern and western parts of Myanmar, but subsequent surveys found it in these areas too (36).

In Gujarat, India, Sand Lark previously occurred in Kachchh and Kathiawar (=Saurashtra). Now the species range extends up to southern Gujarat in Surat District and Valsad District, according to records from these districts' coastal regions (PG).

Distribution of the Sand Lark - Range Map
  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding
Distribution of the Sand Lark

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