Horned Larks are the sole members in North America of a large Old World Family, the true larks.
The Horned Lark's adaptation to open, cold habitat presumably allowed it to move through northern Asia into North America. Currently it occupies "short-grass, arid and desert plains, mesas and valleys, through drought, heat, cold, rain, or shine" (Ligon 1961:188). Ligon also noted breeding occurring as high as 13,160 ft, well above timberline, in northern New Mexico. Presence during the Pleistocene in our region presumably indicates open habitat, perhaps in treeless portions of the higher mountains or open plains.
Fig. 1. Horned Lark painting by Louis Agassiz Fuertes. After Henshaw (1921).
Rancholabrean: Cool Water Coal Gasification Solid Waste Site (Jefferson 1991a).
Mid/Late Wisconsin: Rancho La Brea (Stock and Harris 1992); San Miguel Island (Guthrie 1998).
Mid Wisconsin-Holocene: Shelter Cave (Howard and Miller 1933).
Late Wisconsin: Bison Chamber (Harris 1989); Harris' Pocket (Harris 1989).
Late Wisconsin/Holocene: Balcony Room (Harris 1993c); Conkling Cavern (Howard and Miller 1933); Isleta Cave No. 1 (cf. gen. et sp.)(Harris 1993c: may be Holocene); Stanton's Cave (Rea and Hargrave 1984).
Literature. Guthrie 1998; Harris 1989, 1993c; Henshaw 1921; Howard and Miller 1933; Jefferson 1991a; Ligon 1961; Rea and Hargrave 1984; Stock and Harris 1992.
Last Update: 25 Feb 2014