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the web of life in southern Africa

Calendulauda sabota (Sabota lark)

[= Mirafra sabota

Sabotalewerik [Afrikaans]; Yisimatuli (generic term for lark) [Kwangali]; Urimakutata, Vhumakutata [Tsonga]; Sebotha (generic term for lark) [Tswana]; Sabota-leeuwerik [Dutch]; Alouette sabota [French]; Sabotalerche [German]; Cotovia-sabota [Portuguese]

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Tetrapoda (four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota > Reptilia (reptiles) > Romeriida > Diapsida > Archosauromorpha > Archosauria > Dinosauria (dinosaurs) > Saurischia > Theropoda (bipedal predatory dinosaurs) > Coelurosauria > Maniraptora > Aves (birds) > Order: Passeriformes > Family: Alaudidae > Genus: Calendulauda

Calendulauda sabota (Sabota lark) Calendulauda sabota (Sabota lark)
Sabota lark, Tswalu Kalahari Reserve, South Africa. [photo Trevor Hardaker ] Sabota lark, Kruger National Park, South Africa. [photo Trevor Hardaker ]
Calendulauda sabota (Sabota lark) Calendulauda sabota (Sabota lark)

Sabota lark, Spitskoppe, Namibia. [photo Trevor Hardaker ]

Sabota lark, Etosha National Park, Namibia. [photo Trevor Hardaker ]

Distribution and habitat

Near-endemic to southern Africa, occurring across much of the region and extending into western Angola. It is quite common in savanna and open woodland, especially in areas with clay and rocks with Acacia and Mopane (Colosphermum mopane),  but also in woodland along drainage lines in the Karoo.

Distribution of Sabota lark 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 the following animals:

  • Felis nigripes (Black-footed cat)
  • Tyto alba (Barn owl) 


It eats a variety of insects and seeds, doing most of its foraging on open ground, gleaning food from the soil and bases of grass tufts and shrubs. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:

  • Insects
  • Seeds
    • grasses
      • Brachiara glomerata (Signal grass)
      • Heteropogon contortus (Tanglehead
      • Schmidtia kalihariensis (Kalahari sandkweek)
      • Stipagrostis (bushman grasses)
      • Panicum (guinea grasses)
      • Setaria (bristle grasses)
    • forbs
      • Amaranthus (pigweeds)
      • Chenopodium (misbredies)
      • Cleome (spiderflowers)
      • Indigofera (indigos)
      • Tetragonia echinata (Kinkelbos)
      • Polygala leptophylla (Skaap-ertjie)
      • Galenia
      • Limeum
      • Molugo
      • Trianthema
      • Tephrosia


  • The nest is a cup built of dry grass and lined with finer plant material, typically placed in the shade of a tuft of grass, shrub or rock. It often builds a dome over the nest to protect against sunlight, however this only done when there isn't much shade.
  • It lays 2-4 white speckled eggs, usually in the months from October-May.
  • Little is known about the chicks, other than that they are fed by both parents.


Not threatened.


  • 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.