Facilitating the protection and restoration of species and ecosystems at risk on BC’s South Coast
Prior to European settlement, natural and human-induced fires helped to maintain the open habitat required by grassland birds like Horned Lark. Agricultural clearing by early settlers may have also increased local habitat for Horned Lark by creating additional open spaces, a similar condition which allowed for Barn Owl to spread into southern BC. Much of the biology of the strigata subspecies is derived from the species as a whole. A ground dwelling specialist, Horned Lark gets its name from black feather tufts or “horns” that stand up on either side of the head. These are more prominent on males than females. Body plumage is marked with a black breast band, black lores (space between the eye and bill), and black cheek patches that contrast with the yellow to white supercilium (coloured line of plumage that runs from the lores around the eye to the back of the head), ear covers and chin. The nape, back, rump, and upper area of the tail are shades of brown streaked with dusky brown to black. Males are larger than females. The strigata subspecies is somewhat darker with a yellowish wash on the breast and belly, a pinkish or rufous tinge to the darker brown upperparts and sides, and an extensively yellow throat and supercilium. The mottled brown and grey plumage of chicks and juveniles provides camouflage during rearing and fledging which occurs on the ground.