<ornithology> Any one numerous species of singing birds of the genus Alauda and allied genera (family Alaudidae). They mostly belong to Europe, Asia, and Northern Africa. In America they are represented by the shore larks, or horned by the shore larks, or horned larks, of the genus Otocoris. The true larks have holaspidean tarsi, very long hind claws, and usually, dull, sandy brown colours.
The European skylark, or lark of the poets (Alauda arvensis), is of a brown mottled colour, and is noted for its clear and sweet song, uttered as it rises and descends almost perpendicularly in the air. It is considered a table delicacy, and immense numbers are killed for the markets. Other well-known European species are the crested, or tufted, lark (Alauda cristata), and the wood lark (A. Arborea). The pipits, or titlarks, of the genus Anthus (family Motacillidae) are often called larks. See Pipit. The American meadow larks, of the genus Sturnella, are allied to the starlings. See Meadow Lark. The Australian bush lark is Mirafra Horsfieldii. See Shore lark.
Origin: OE. Larke, laverock, AS. Lawerce; akin to D. Leeuwerik, LG. Lewerke, OHG. Lrahha, G. Lerche, Sw. Larka, Dan. Lerke, Icel. Laevirki.
(01 Mar 1998)
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