U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


HORNED LARKS (Eremophila alpestris)

Jerry P. Clark, Primary State Biologist, California Department of Food and Agriculture, Sacramento, California 95814
Scott E. Hygnstrom, Extension Wildlife Damage Specialist, Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Wildlife, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebraska, 68583

Document Type Article


Horned larks (Eremophila alpestris) are ground-dwelling birds that are slightly larger than house sparrows. They are brown, with a yellowish face, black breast, black “whiskers,” and two small black “horns.” Horned larks breed widely throughout North America, from northern Alaska to southern Mexico. In certain parts of California the horned lark is a serious crop pest. The food of the horned lark consists largely of seeds picked up from the ground. Vegetable crops damaged by horned larks include beets, broccoli, carrots, lettuce, peas, spinach, and tomatoes. Other field and truck crops damaged are alfalfa, grain, sugar beets, cantaloupes, and watermelons. Horned larks are classified as migratory nongame birds in the Code of Federal Regulations.