There is considerable geographical variation between the Australian subspecies of Horsfield’s bushlark, mainly in the colour and patterning of the upperparts, and colour of the underbody and extent of markings to the breast. For all subspecies the sexes are similar, with no seasonal variation (Higgins et al., 2006). Horsfield’s bushlark (Tiwi Islands) is a small, short, squat bird with a short robust bill and a rounded head. The top of the head and neck appear black, streaked with rufous, and there is a distinct pale-buff eyebrow. The upperparts are mottled brownish-grey with rufous edging to the feathers, and a strongly rufous wing. The underparts are pale cream-rufous with strong dark streaking on the breast. The legs are short. Birds can raise a short crest, but this is not usually visible.
Horsfield's Bushlark (Tiwi Islands) |
Mirafra javanica melvillensis
Status: Vulnerable on the EPBC Act list
Government evidence of impact of climate change:
Australian Government, Conservation Advice, Mirafra javanica melvillensis
However; possible threats include conversion of treeless plains to forestry altered fire regimes from a fine scale mosaic to extensive areas burnt by larger hotter fires around more accessible areas; and a low frequency in more remote areas altered water regimes trampling of nests by feral animals and predation by feral cats (Felis catus).