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Singing Bushlark Mirafra cantillans cantillans  
Singing Bushlark
Photographer : © Mike Prince
Location :near Mysore, Karnataka, India
Date : 28 March 2010
English synonyms:Singing Bush Lark, Singing Bush-Lark, Singing Field-Lark, Singing Lark, Western Singing Bush Lark, Western Singing Bushlark
Bird Family :Alaudidae - Larks
Bird Group :PASSERIFORMES
Red Data Status :Least Concern
Remarks :Singing Bushlark has been a bit of an enigma for me: I've been confused why there are so few ever reported and I've only ever seen photographs of three birds from India.

I finally caught up with one near Mysore in early February. I was quite struck by how distinctive it was, and how different from Indian and Jerdon's, although it wasn't exactly what I was expecting! Quite small, compact, with rounded head and bill shape and little rise to the forehead; very unobtrusive in behaviour. Less distinct face pattern than Jerdon's, with supercilium yellowish, thin and most noticeable behind eye, ear coverts contrastingly warm brown; crown and nape clearly greyish and contrasting with rather warm mantle and wings. Strangely reminded me of a winter Lapland Bunting, both in plumage and behaviour! The white outer tail was very obvious in flight.

These three images are from a return visit to the same site where I found five in exactly the same place. (Also Indian and Jerdon's in the same area for a nice trio!) Had prolonged views this time. Interestingly, when flushed they always flew separately for a short distance, landing on the ground and never on bushes, and never calling. One of the photos shows the distinctive white outer tail feathers. The breast streaking is more prominent than typically described. - MP

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