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the web of life in southern Africa

Ammomanopsis grayi (Gray's lark) 

[= Ammomanes grayi

Namiblewerik [Afrikaans]; Namibleeuwerik [Dutch]; Ammomane de Gray [French]; Namiblerche [German]; Cotovia da Namíbia [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

Ammomanopsis grayi (Gray's lark)   

Gray's lark. [photo Johann Grobbelaar ©]


Distribution and habitat

Near-endemic to Namibia's Namib Desert, which marginally extends into south-western Angola. It generally prefers open gravel plains with or sometimes without scattered small shrubs and grass; it avoids coastal dunes and sand desert.

Distribution of Gray's 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).

Predators and parasites

It has been recorded as prey of the following falcons:


It eats seeds, invertebrates and the soft bases of grass stems, plucking food items from the ground. It often forages around zebra and antelope droppings and around the entrances of rodent burrows. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:

  • Seeds
    • Grasses
      • Stipagrostis
    • Forbs
      • Amaranthus
      • Cleon
      • Giseckia
      • Monsonia umbellata (Wilderabassam)
  • Bases of grass stems
  • Invertebrates


  • It is usually monogamous, although there have been 3 records of more than two birds feeding fledglings, suggesting that it is an occasional cooperative breeder.
  • The nest is a thick-walled cup built of fine grass inflorescences, often from Stipagrostis species. It is typically placed in a shallow hole in the ground, often in the shadow of a rock, grass tuft or shrub.
  • The eggs are usually laid after rainfall in them months from March-July.
  • It lays 2-3 eggs, which are incubated for 12-13 days; the incubating bird is well camouflaged against the grey-coloured gravel surrounding the nest.
  • The chicks are fed invertebrates by both parents leaving the nest after roughly 10 days, before being able to fly.


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.