This lark is a 15 cm long bird, with a brown crown, rich rufous underparts, and a strong bill. The Cape clapper lark has grey upperparts and a grey face, and the Agulhas clapper lark has dark brown upperparts, although individual variation means that it cannot always be reliably distinguished from the nominate race. The Cape clapper lark is a skulking species, difficult to find when not displaying. It is not gregarious

Habitat and Distribution

The Cape clapper lark is a species of open grassland and savannah, also inhabiting karoo, fynbos and fallow agricultural land. It is found in south-western South Africa, the Agulhas clapper lark, M. (a.) majoriae, in found in the southern Western Cape Province of South Africa as far east as Knysna.


Individuals tend to be seen in dry habitats feeding on the ground on seeds and insects.

Calls and Songs

The display commences with an ascending flight with wing flapping. The Cape clapper lark has a slower wing clap compared to the eastern clapper lark, and its otherwise similar call is longer and rises in pitch more. The Agulhas clapper lark has a fast wing clap, and a descending double whistled peeeooo call.