The shore lark is a small bird, roughly as large as the Eurasian skylark (about 17 centimetres long). Its most striking feature is the black mask on its yellow head: a black band runs from one eye over the beak to the other. It also has black feathers on the top of the head that look like small ears. The back is light brown with black drawing, the throat is black and the chest and belly are creamy white.
Males and females look almost the same but the female has somewhat paler colours.
Shore larks are found mainly in the tundra of Eurasia and North America, as well as in the arid regions of South-East Europe, North-West Africa and Asia. They can be found practically everywhere, especially in North America where they encounter less competition from other lark species.
They mainly spend the cold months in Europe, from November to March. They can often be observed foraging in flocks with snow buntings and longspurs.
Shore larks prefer sparse and rocky landscape like steppes and tundra as well as shores, beaches and even bare agricultural fields.
During winter, they feed almost exclusively on seeds. During the breeding season however, shore larks also feed on insects and small animals.
The breeding season last from June to July. In the well camouflaged nest, the female incubates the eggs for about 14 days. After hatching, the young remain in the nest for only two weeks; they are fed by both parents.