Often seen running and digging for food in the sand with its long bill, the greater hoopoe-lark eats mostly invertebrates such as termites, grasshoppers and snails, although it will occasionally consume seeds or even small reptiles. To break the shells of snails, the greater hoopoe-lark can be seen dropping them onto a hard surface from the air, or hammering them against a rock. It is typically a solitary forager, but is sometimes seen in pairs or small groups. The greater hoopoe-lark is well adapted for its preferred desert conditions, and does not need to drink water to survive (3). During periods of intense heat, this species may shelter in the burrows of large Uromastyx lizards, in order to remain cool and prevent water loss (8).
The breeding season of the greater hoopoe-lark varies geographically and is dependent on rainfall. In some very dry years breeding may not take place at all. To attract a female, the male greater hoopoe-lark launches into an aerobatic song flight, steeply ascending from a high perch with wings and tail feathers spread, before twisting and sometimes somersaulting back down to the same perch (3). The female greater hoopoe-lark builds the nest at the base or in the tops of bushes or, more rarely, away from vegetation on gravelly plains. Ground nests are generally constructed in dug-out cups, whereas those placed in bushes are typically made using the bases of twigs, and all nests are lined with soft plant material (9).
Greater hoopoe-lark clutches typically contain around three eggs (9). Incubation of the clutch is shared by the male and female (4) (9), and lasts between 12 and 13 days (9). If threatened, the female will occasionally use its striking wing pattern to distract the potential predator away from the nest (10). After hatching, greater hoopoe-lark chicks stay in the nest for a further 12 to 13 days, and they remain with the adult birds for a further month after fledging the nest (3).