The crested lark (Galerida cristata) is a species of lark distinguished from the other 81 species of lark by the crest of feathers that rise up in territorial or courtship displays and when singing. Common to mainland Europe, the birds can also be found in northern Africa and in parts of western Asia and China. It is a non-migratory bird, but can occasionally be found as a vagrant in Great Britain.
A fairly small lark, the crested lark is roughly the same size as a Eurasian skylark, but shorter overall and bulkier around the head and body, and very similar in appearance, with a height of 17 cm (6.7 in) and a wingspan of 29 to 38 cm (11 to 15 in), weighing between 37 and 55 g (1.3 and 1.9 oz). It is a small, brown bird which has a short tail with light brown outer feathers. Male and females have no real differences, but young crested larks have more spots on their back than their older counterparts. Its plumage is downy but sparse and appears whitish. The distinct crest from which the crested lark gets its name is conspicuous at all times but is more pronounced during territorial or courtship displays and when singing. In flight it shows reddish underwings. It shares many characteristics with the Thekla lark, with the main distinctions between the two being the beak, the Thekla’s heavier black-brown streaks and its grey underwing, present in European specimens.