Animal Species:Brown Songlark

Male Brown Songlarks engage in 'song flights'; singing continuously as they fly up above their territories.

Brown Songlark

Brown Songlark
Photographer: Jack Purnell © Australian Museum

Standard Common Name

Brown Songlark

Alternative Name/s

Black-breasted Song Lark, Harvest bird, Brown Singing-lark


The Brown Songlark is remarkable for the male being much larger (23-25 cm) than the female (18-19 cm). In breeding plumage the male is dark cinnamon-brown with black bill and black eyes. Otherwise the male and female both have a dusky brown back, pale brownish-white underparts, with the centre of the belly dark brown. The Brown Songlark is also known as the Australian Songlark.

Size range

18 cm to 25 cm

Similar Species

Rufous Songlark,White-winged Triller,Richard's Pipit


The Brown Songlark is found all over mainland Australia except for parts of the far north. It is more abundant in the south, but numbers fluctuate locally depending on rainfall.


The Brown Songlark is found in open country, including pastures, short crops, and grassy scrub.


The Brown Songlark is very nomadic, moving from drought-affected areas to areas of recent rainfall.

Feeding and Diet

The Brown Songlark feeds on seeds and insects.


The male Brown Songlark is the singer. The continuous song is musical and metallic, produced from perches and when rising steeply above breeding territory, then fluttering in slow downward display flights between trees, ending with a whip-crack sound.

Mating and reproduction

The nest of the Brown Songlark is in a small depression in the ground, often in a clump of grass or other cover. The female incubates the eggs and rears the young.

  • Breeding season: September to February in the south; at any time after good rain in the north and centre.
  • Clutch size: Three to four
  • Incubation: 12 days

Conservation Status

Birds are occasionally killed by vehicles on roads.

Economic/social impacts

Like the Rufous Songlark, the Brown Songlark includes farm paddocks in its territory.



What does this mean?


  • Serventy, V.N. (ed) 1982. The Wrens and Warblers of Australia. Angus and Robertson and the Australian Photographic Index of Australian Wildlife, Sydney.
  • Morcombe, M. 2000. Field guide to Australian Birds. Steve Parish Publishing.
  • Flegg, J. 2002. Birds of Australia: Photographic Field Guide, 2nd Edition. Reed New Holland, Sydney.
  • Higgins, P.J., Peter, J.M. and Cowling, S.J. (eds) 2006. Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds, Volume 7 (Dunnock to Starlings) Part B Oxford University Press. Melbourne.

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Tags BIBY, bird, birds, brown songlark, Passeriformes, Sylviidae, Cincloramphus cruralis, Old World Warblers, vertebrate, identification,