email a friend
printable version
Friedmann's Lark Mirafra pulpa
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
Please email us with any relevant information

Taxonomic source(s)
Dowsett, R. J.; Forbes-Watson, A. D. 1993. Checklist of birds of the Afrotropical and Malagasy regions. Tauraco Press, Li
Sibley, C. G.; Monroe, B. L. 1990. Distribution and taxonomy of birds of the world. Yale University Press, New Haven, USA.

13-14cm. 22g. Small, rufous-toned lark with pale supercilium. Has rufous-brown centres to greater coverts, a rufous wingpanel, white throat and buff-underparts. Similar spp. Very similar in appearance to Singing Bushlark M. cantillans but the latter has blackish-brown feather centres. Voice A diagnostic "hoo-eee-oo" whistle repeated every 1-2 seconds.

Distribution and population
Mirafra pulpa is a very poorly known species. In Kenya, it is known from six specimens and a few sight records (although these include an observation of at least 150 individuals), principally from Tsavo East and West National Parks (Lack 1977). The type specimen was collected in Ethiopia in 1912 (Lack 1977), but it has only been seen there once since, in 1998 (J. Ash and D. Turner in litt. 1999). There are also several records from Mkomazi Game Reserve in Tanzania during 1994-1996 (Lack 1997) and a single record from south of Arusha in August 1998 (N. Baker in litt. 1999). There are no known threats to the species but it is apparently rare. It is best identified by its characteristic song: a single long drawn-out 'hoo-ee-oo' note, with a slight emphasis on the middle part, repeated at 1-2 second intervals. This is given during undulating display flights, or from the tops of small bushes, and is also often given at night (Lack 1977). The species is solitary and rather wary. Further information is required about this lark's abundance, ecology, seasonal movements and possible threats.

Population justification
The population size of this species has not been quantified, but it is described as extremely rare.

Trend justification
The population is suspected to be in decline because the species's habitat is probably prone to overgrazing and conversion to cultivation (del Hoyo et al. 2004).

It appears to prefer fairly dense grassland with bushes, possibly avoiding drier areas (Lack 1977), and feeds on grass seeds, small grasshoppers and beetles (Lack 1977). It has been suggested that the species is migratory since birds have been found among other migrants attracted to the lights of Ngulia Safri Lodge in Tsavo West, and it is only found at certain times of year (e.g. during the rains in Tsavo) (Lack 1977, 1997), but there is no information on the extent or pattern of any movements.

None are known

Conservation Actions Underway
None are known. Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey all historical sites and other potentially suitable habitat, focusing on its distinctive song. Study its abundance, ecology, seasonal movements and possible threats.

del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Christie, D. 2004. Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 9: Cotingas to Pipits and Wagtails. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Lack, P. C. 1977. The status of Friedmann's Bush-lark Mirafra pulpa. Scopus 1(2): 34-39.

Lack, P. C. 1997. Friedmann's Lark Mirafra pulpa - an enigma. Bulletin of the African Bird Club 7(2): 132-134.

Further web sources of information
Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Butchart, S., Evans, M., Martin, R, Robertson, P., Starkey, M., Symes, A.

Ash, J., Baker, N., Turner, D.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Mirafra pulpa. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - Friedmann’s lark (Mirafra pulpa)

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Data Deficient
Family Alaudidae (Larks)
Species name author Friedmann, 1930
Population size Unknown mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 42,100 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species
- Projected distributions under climate change