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Calendulauda erythrochlamys (Dune lark) 

[= Mirafra erythrochlamys

Duinlewerik [Afrikaans]; Alouette à dos roux [French]; Dünenlerche [German]; Cotovia-das-dunas [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 erythrochlamys (Dune lark)   

Dune lark, Namibia. [photo Trevor Hardaker ©]


Distribution and habitat

Endemic to Namibia's Namib Desert, preferring sparsely vegetated dunes punctuated with shrubs and grasses such as Namib dune bushman grass (Stipagrostis salbulicola) and ¡Nara melons (Aconthosicyos horridus).

Distribution of Dune 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).


It eats a variety of insects and seeds, exposing sand-covered food items by digging with its bill, and catching prey aerially or gleaning from the leaves and bases of grasses. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:

  • Invertebrates
  • Seeds
    • Amaranthus (pigweed)
    • Hermannia
    • Limeum phenostratima (Klosaarbossie)
    • Trianthema hereroensis
    • Giseckia (volstruisduiwe)
    • Brachiara glomerata (signal grass)
    • Stipagrostis ciliata (Tall bushman grass)


  • The nest is built solely by the female in 7-9 days, consisting of a domed cup built of coarse grass and lined with finer plant material, feathers, hair and reptile skin, often secured together with the webs of burrowing spiders.  It is typically placed in a depression dug into sand at the base of a shrub or grass tuft, usually facing south-east to maximise shade during the day.
  • Egg-laying season is year-round, as it opportunistically lays its eggs after rain.
  • It lays 1-2 eggs, which are incubated solely by the female for about 13-14 days.
  • The chicks are brooded by the female for the first 4 days, with both parents feeding invertebrates to the chicks during the roughly 12-14 day long nestling period. They leave before before being able to fly, hiding and skulking in vegetation.


Not threatened, as almost its entire population is within the boundaries of the Namib-Naukluft National Park.


  • 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. 

  • Harrison, J.A., Allan, D.G., Underhill, L.G., Herremans, M., Tree. A.J., Parker, V. & Brown, C.J. (eds). 1997. The atlas of southern African birds. Vol. 2: Passerines. BirdLife South Africa, Johannesburg.