Horned Lark Eremophila alpestris



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Small, sparrowlike bird with a long body and a small bill. Brownish above and pale below with a black chest band. Males have a black mask and variable amounts of yellow on the head and throat. Also note tiny hornlike feathers that sometimes stick straight up on the head.


Females lack the male's black mask and are generally paler, with only a slight yellow wash on the throat and a brown breast band.


Juveniles are brown overall with white-edged feathers and a brown breast band.


Males have tiny hornlike feathers on top of the head that can be raised and lowered.


Sandy to rusty brown above with a black tail that is especially noticeable in flight. Back and throat color vary across the range from rusty to sandy and from pale yellow to bright yellow.


Small songbird with a small head and bill. Females have a pale yellow wash on the throat and a dusky breast band. They lack the male's black eye patch.


Slender sparrowlike bird with a small head and bill. Males have a black mask, black breast band, and yellow throat. Their namesake horns are not always visible.


Found in open country with very short or no vegetation, including bare agricultural fields. Often difficult to spot on bare ground thanks to their small size and brown and sandy-colored backs.

Recommended Citation

Horned Lark (Eremophila alpestris), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: https://neotropical.birds.cornell.edu/Species-Account/nb/species/horlar