This is a small lark at 11 cm. The male is striking, with solid black underparts and head apart from brilliant white patches on the nape and behind the eyes. The upperparts and wings are chestnut with some dark streaking. The thick bill is grey. The female chestnut-backed sparrow-lark is a drabber bird with heavily streaked buff-white underparts and head, and a white nape collar. The upperparts are chestnut with mottling. Young birds are like the female.

Habitat and Distribution

This lark is a bird of open dry habitats. It is a resident breeder in Africa south of the Sahara Desert.


Its food is insects and seeds.


It nests on the ground and lays one egg.