Little brown bird of the plains

This bird is I suspect, often overlooked by even enthusiastic bird watchers. Horsfield’s Bushlark Mirafra javanica inhabits the plains country west of Newstead. It’s common name might seem a bit odd, but it can be found in open woodlands, especially in the more northern parts of its range which extends over much of eastern and northern Australia.


Horsfield’s Bushlark, Moolort Plains, 25th October 2014.

Two similar species are also found in the same habitat on the Moolort Plains, the Australasian Pipit, together with the less common and somewhat cryptic Eurasian Skylark. This latter species was introduced from Britain in the 1850s and is often heard rather than seen as it spirals to great heights in its song flight. Horsfield’s Bushlark is a breeding migrant to our area although small numbers remain during winter.


The mottled upper breast and white eyebrow are shared with two similar species, the Australasian Pipit and Eurasian Skylark – the bushlark has a much stubbier beak.

5 responses to “Little brown bird of the plains

  1. Very handsome LBJs!
    Cheers Andy

  2. I would love to hear a sky lark singing. Where would be a good spot to see/hear them?

    • Hi Mary – anywhere out on the plains country to the west of Newstead. They are a hard bird to find on the ground and not as common as pipits or bushlarks.
      Good luck. Cheers, geoff

  3. What a remarkable back claw the bushlark has. I’ve only ever seen them sitting on wire fences, so I wonder what the purpose of that claw might be?

    • I’m not sure Geoff but this seems to be a feature of birds in the lark family. I’ll need to do some research!
      Cheers, geoff

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