Birds of America
By John James Audubon, F. R. SS. L. & E.
FAMILY XIV. ALAUDINAE. LARKS.
Bill rather short, or of moderate length, somewhat conical, compressed
toward the end; upper mandible with its dorsal line sloping and slightly convex,
the edges sharp and overlapping, the notches generally obsolete; the tip narrow
and a little deflected; lower mandible with the angle of moderate length and
narrow, the dorsal line ascending and nearly straight, the edges slightly
inflected, the tip acute; gape-line straight. Nostrils elliptical or oblong,
basal. Head oblong, of moderate size; neck rather short; body ovate. Feet of
moderate length, or rather long; tarsus compressed, with eight anterior
scutella; toes slender, compressed; the hind toe elongated, second and fourth
about equal, third much longer. Claws rather long, arched, slender, much
compressed, laterally grooved, acute, that of the hind toe very long,
straightish, tapering. Plumage generally soft and blended. Wings rather long,
broad, the inner secondaries tapering, and one so elongated as nearly to equal
the longest primary, when the wing is closed. Tail of twelve feathers,
generally emarginate. Roof of the upper mandible concave, generally with three
prominent lines; tongue slender, thin, flat, tapering to a slit and bristly tip;
oesophagus of uniform width; stomach a very strong muscular gizzard of a
roundish form and compressed, its lateral muscles very large, its epithelium
dense and rugous; intestines short, of moderate width; coeca very small,
cylindrical. Nest on the ground. Eggs five or six, oval, spotted.