Bird Database

Horned Lark

(Eremophila alpestris)

State of the Birds
At a Glance



Short distance




Habitat loss and fragmentation, Mowing, Pesticides

Conservation Actions

Time mowing of grassland habitats to minimize imacts on ground-nesting birds

Horned Lark

(Eremophila alpestris)

The Horned Lark is most frequently seen in New Hampshire during migration and winter, when large flocks can be found in agricultural fields and other open grassy areas. Most of these birds are migrants from the far north, where they nest in the Canadian tundra (including alpine area). These populations completely vacate their breeding areas in winter and can migrate as far south as the Gulf of Mexico.

New Hampshire also supports a small and dwindling breeding population of Horned Larks. Like many grassland birds, it was not present here historically but colonized New England from the Great Plains and Midwest following extensive agricultural clearing in the 1800s. When it first arrived here it was most common in the northern half of the state, but gradually expanded southward in smaller numbers. By the late 1900s, however, it was reduced to scattered pairs in the southern half of the state. Except for occasional nesting in the Hampton and Seabrook dunes into the 1990s, all breeding in the state by this time was at airports. Now the population is limited to a handful of pairs at the Concord and Pease airports, with occasional late spring reports elsewhere.

Horned Larks are one of the earliest species to nest in New Hampshire, sometimes laying eggs before the end of March. The nest is a cup built into a small depression in the ground dug by the female, and often sheltered from the prevailing wind by a rock or clump of grass. After three weeks of combined incubation and nestling periods the chicks depart and are fed by the parents for another 1-3 weeks. If a nest successfully fledges, many larks will attempt a second brood within a couple of weeks, sometimes while still feeding the young from the first clutch.

Seasonal Abundance

Relative abundance based on eBird data. Numbers indicate likelihood of finding this species in suitable habitat at a given time of year, not actual numbers encountered.

Horned Lark
Range Map

Information for the species profiles on this website was compiled from a combination of the sources listed below.

  • The Birds of New Hampshire. By Allan R. Keith and Robert B. Fox. 2013. Memoirs of the Nuttall Ornithological club No. 19.

  • Atlas of the Breeding Birds of New Hampshire. Carol R. Foss, ed. 1994. Arcadia Publishing Company and Audubon Society of New Hampshire

  • Birds of the World. Various authors and dates. Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology.

  • Data from the Breeding Bird Survey

  • Data from the Christmas Bird Count