Foraging alone or in flocks on the ground, the greater short-toed lark uses its bill to dig for food (5). The adults’ diet consists of seeds and insects, such as beetles, grasshoppers and spiders (3). The nestlings are fed only on invertebrates, but fledglings eat more green plant material (5). The greater short-toed lark can go without water for long periods, and has occasionally been observed drinking brackish water (3).
Breeding in dry areas with sparse vegetation, the greater short-toed lark builds its nest on the ground (2). The female chooses the nesting site, which is often just a simple depression in the soil, and lines it with grass, leaves, soft wool and feathers. A small ridge, made of lumps of earth, is placed around the nest for protection (5). The female greater short-toed lark incubates the 3 or 4 creamy-grey eggs for 11 to 13 days (5), and the male helps with feeding the chicks (5). The chicks are often predated in the nest (2), despite the female’s attempts to distract predators (5). The young fledglings leave the nest after 12 to 15 days (5).
After the breeding season, flocks of greater short-toed larks as large as 10,000 individuals gather to prepare for the long migration flight to the winter grounds (2).