Brown Songlark Click to enlarge image
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. Image: Tony Morris
creative commons

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    cruralis
    Genus
    Cincloramphus
    Family
    Megaluridae
    Order
    Passeriformes
    Class
    Aves
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    18 cm to 25 cm

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

Identification

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.

Habitat

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

Distribution

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.



Seasonality

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.

Communication

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.

Breeding behaviours

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 impacts

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

References

  • 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.

Brown Songlark, Cincloramphus cruralis
The Brown Songlark is found in open country, including pastures, short crops, and grassy scrub. Image: Purnell Collection
© Australian Museum