Horned lark  166x268 tallStreaked horned lark (Eremophila alpestris strigata)

The horned lark has a dark brown back, yellow face and breast with a dark facial mask and breast band, and tiny black feather tufts on the back of its head. This subspecies of horned lark lives only in the coastal plains of BC, Washington and Oregon. In BC, it lives in the lower Fraser Valley and on southeastern Vancouver Island, although since in 2002 only one male was observed in a historical breeding area on the Island, it is now considered as extirpated.

Horned larks nest on the ground and inhabit similar areas as do vesper sparrows: grasslands such as Garry oak meadows. Like the vesper sparrow, horned larks were probably never common in BC, but with the widespread loss of grassland habitats, it is now on the brink of extinction. The population in Washington and Oregon is now thought to total only about 200 - 300 individuals, and in all areas these numbers are dropping. Loss of nesting habitat is the prime threat to the species, along with predation by domestic and feral cats.

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© Image courtesy of Jean-Guy Dallaire

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