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Short-clawed Lark Certhilauda chuana
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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This species has a very large range, and hence does not approach the threshold classification as for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the threshold for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size may be moderately small to large, but it is not believed to approach the threshold for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

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.

Mirafra chuana Collar and Andrew (1988)

Distribution and population
Certhilauda chuana has two disjunct populations: one on the Pietersburg Plateau in the Northern Province, South Africa, and a larger population in south-eastern Botswana and the North-west Province, South Africa. This species has a large range, with an estimated global Extent of Occurrence of 100,000 km2. The South African population numbers 500-5,000 individuals, and there may be over 20,000 pairs in Botswana, which is thought to hold 80-90% of the total population (C. Brewster in litt. 2007). The species may have undergone a localised range contraction and population reduction in South Africa, although its distribution may also be influenced by seasonal or eruptive movements and it appears to be stable within its core range in Botswana (C. Brewster in litt. 2007).

Population justification
The population is estimated to number fewer than 20,000 pairs within the species's core range in Botswana, thought to hold 80-90% of the total global population (C. Brewster in litt. 2009). The total global population is therefore estimated to lie within the band 50,000-99,999 individuals.

Trend justification
The species currently appears to be stable within its core range in Botswana, which holds an estimated 80-90% of the global population. Some declines may have taken place in South Africa, but the overall decline is not thought to approach 30% within ten years or three generations (C. Brewster in litt. 2009).

It prefers open habitat, sparsely vegetated with short grass and scattered trees or bushes, particularly where grass has been severely grazed. In South Africa it is associated with Tarchonanthus bushveld. In Botswana it is restricted to areas under traditional agricultural regimes, especially fallow land with coppiced Acacia tortilis and heavy livestock grazing (Harrison et al. 1997b).

Changes in agricultural policies that favour bush thickening or the reduction of open, lightly-grassed habitat could reduce populations significantly (Penry 1994, Barnes 2000). In southeastern Botswana Short-clawed Lark is almost completely confined to fallow land that has been cultivated for field crops using traditional agricultural practices. In recent years there has been a large decline in the area of land cultivated with sorghum and maize using traditional practices (C. Brewster in litt. 2007). This decline, if it continues, has the potential to have an adverse impact on Short-clawed Lark in southeastern Botswana However, despite large-scale habitat alteration occurring in many areas, the eastern population in Botswana is apparently stable (C. Brewster in litt. 2007), and it remains fairly common in suitable habitats (W. Borello in litt. 2007).

Conservation Actions Underway
None is known. Conservation Actions Proposed
Consider government incentives to farmers in southeast Botswana to maintain traditional agricultural methods (C. Brewster in litt. 2007). Carry out regular monitoring of the core population in Botswana as well as that in South Africa.

Barnes, K. N. 2000. The Eskom Red Data Book of birds of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland. BirdLife South Africa, Johannesburg.

Engelbrecht, D., Grosel, J. and Dippenaar, S. 2007. The western population of short-clawed lark Certhilauda chuana in South Africa revisited. Bulletin of the African Bird Club 14(1): 58-61.

Harrison, J. A.; Allan, D. G.; Underhill, L. G.; Herremans, M.; Tree, A. J.; Parker, V.; Brown, C. J. 1997. The atlas of southern African birds. BirdLife South Africa, Johannesburg.

Penry, H. 1994. Bird atlas of Botswana. University of Natal Press, Pietermaritzburg.

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
Ekstrom, J., Butchart, S., Harding, M., Fisher, S., Symes, A., Gilroy, J.

Simmons, R., Tyler, S., Herremans, M., Brewster, C., Borello, W.

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Certhilauda chuana. Downloaded from on 26/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 26/10/2016.

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.

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Least Concern
Family Alaudidae (Larks)
Species name author (Smith, 1836)
Population size mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 127,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species
- Projected distributions under climate change