A hardy, all-season bird
of open areas. Horned Larks are pretty common most of the year in much of South
Dakota, but they're often quite hard to observe closely. Most of the year,
they often go unnoticed. However, they're much more observable with a
fresh snow on the ground, as they often congregate in numbers along gravel
roadsides, along with Lapland Longspurs and
Snow Buntings. The "horns" of the
Horned Lark are in fact quite small, black tufts of feathers that can only
be seen at very close range.
Habitat: Found in a wide variety of settings. Prefers
open ground with little or no tall vegetation, such as barren or plowed fields,
large grass lawns, and beaches.
Diet: Mostly seeds and waste grain in
the winter. Insects are also eaten in great quantity during the summer.
Behavior: Gregarious, usually found in flocks
except during the nesting season. Forages by walking or running on the
ground in search of insects and seeds.
Nesting: April through June
Migration: Found throughout much of North America,
most U.S. populations are permanent residents. Those in the northern
part of Canada do move southward for the winter.
Conservation Status: Widespread and common.
Horned Larks have adapted well to a human presence, and will utilize
farmland or other heavily disturbed lands.
Cornell University's "All About Birds - Horned Lark"
eNature.com: Horned Lark
Photo Information: January 21st, 2009 - Minnehaha
County, South Dakota - Terry Sohl
Additional Photos: Click on the image chips or
text links below for additional, higher-resolution Horned Lark photos.