Skylark

©Margaret Holland

Skylark

Scientific name: Alauda arvensis
The song of the Skylark has been the subject of many great musical and literary works. A quintessential feature of our farmland and grasslands habitats, it is declining rapidly with habitat loss.

Species information

Statistics

Length: 18cm
Wingspan: 33cm
Weight: 35-42g
Average lifespan: 2 years

Conservation status

Classified in the UK as Red under the Birds of Conservation Concern 4: the Red List for Birds (2015).

When to see

January to December

About

Male Skylarks can be spotted rising almost vertically from farmland, grassland, saltmarshes and moorland. They hover effortlessly, singing from a great height, before parachuting back down to earth. These long and complicated song-flights can last for up to an hour and the birds can reach 300m before descending. They'll also sing from perches, such as fence posts or large rocks. Despite their aerial activities, Skylarks nest on the ground, laying three to four eggs. Chicks become independent after only two weeks and parents can have up to four broods in a breeding season.

How to identify

If seen in song-flight, the Skylark is unmistakeable. A streaky brown bird, with a crest, it is larger than the similar Woodlark (a rare bird of heathland and woodland edges) and has a longer tail. It is also much larger than the similar Meadow Pipit, which has a thinner bill and no crest.

Distribution

Widespread.

Did you know?

The song of the Skylark has been the subject of many works of literature and music from Chaucer to Shelley, Vaughan Williams to jazz.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts work closely with farmers and landowners to ensure that our wildlife is protected and to promote wildlife-friendly practices. By working together, we can create Living Landscapes: networks of habitats stretching across town and country that allow wildlife to move about freely and people to enjoy the benefits of nature. Support this greener vision for the future by joining your local Wildlife Trust.