Skylark Alauda arvensis   [Linnaeus, 1758]

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Order: Passeriformes Family: Alaudidae
BTO Codes: S., SKYLA EURING No: 9760
Number in Britain: 1.4 million Territories (Summer)
Conservation Status:
European: 3 Concern, most not in Europe; Depleted
Global: (Details)
Status in UK: (A)  Resident Breeder, Passage/Winter Visitor
Subspecies: arvensis recorded in Britain (of 11 subsp. in the world)
Length: 18 cm Wingspan: 33 cm Weight: M: 42 g   F: 35 g    
Scientific name from: L.: Alauda=lark (orig. Gaulish?) and L.: arvensis=of a field (from arvum=a field)
World Distribution: Europe, North Africa, n&c Asia, INTRODUCED: Canada, Australia, New Zealand
Habitat: Grassland, fields, tundra, sand dunes
Diet: Summer, mostly insects, otherwise cereal grain and weed seeds, also shoots
TitBit: An integral part of the British landscape, its song has inspired poets ranging from Chaucer to Blake, however, before the widespread introduction of farming it was probably quite scarce and its fortunes since have followed farming practices.  
Identification Tips:
  Images from IBC or search flickr
  Videos from IBC
  Sound from xeno-canto
Crossley ID photos

Population and Distribution

Population Trend: BirdTrends   
Regional Trends: Scotland   Wales   England   English Regions
Distribution: Atlas Mapstore    BBS Maps
British Population Size:
    Summer: 1.4 million Territories in 2009
    First Record: Recorded in Anglo-Saxon times [Fossil evidence from Ipswichian (last) interglacial, c. 125,000 yr ago]
    Latest Survey: Musgrove, A. et al. (2013) British Birds 106:64-100
    Conservation Status: RED because Recent Breeding Population Decline (1969-2007),
   Previous Assessments: 2002-2007 RED     1996-2001 RED  
   Races of Concern: arvensis RED (Recent Decline)
UK Biodiversity Action Plan (Lead Partner: RSPB)
Habitat Occupancy (in the Breeding Season):
    Most frequent in: Moorland
    Also common in: Arable Farmland, Bog
    And found in: Grass/Heath, Marsh
Relative Frequency in Each Habitat:
European Population Size:
    Summer: 25 to 45 million pairs   (Trend in Numbers)
Population Assesment from Birds in Europe
Distribution in Europe mapped by the EBCC Atlas
Listed on the Appendices/Schedules of: WBD(II*), Bern(III), NERC (41)
Survey Results: Results from BirdTrack
Results from the Winter Farmland Bird Survey

Breeding and Survival

Egg Size: 23 x 17 mm Egg Weight: 3.3 g (of which 6 % is shell)
Number of Nest Records: 180
Clutch Size: 3 - 4 eggs 3.49 ± 0.67 (1 - 6) N = 1448
Incubation: 13- 14 days 13.30 ± 1.82 (10.5 - 16.5) N = 1448   by the: Female
Fledging: 11 - 16days 13.48 ± 2.65 (9 - 17) N = 2077 as: Altricial, downy
British Trust for Ornithology (2005) Nest Record Scheme data
First Clutches Laid: 19 May (20 Apr - 6 Jul)
Number of Broods: 1-4
See trends in Breeding Productivity
Number Ringed: Annual Totals
Adult Survival: 0.513 ± 0.024       
Juvenile Survival: No data
Age at First Breeding: 1 year Typical Lifespan: 2 years
Maximum Recorded Age: 9 years 0 months 10 days (set in 2001)
Read a summary of Ringing Recoveries


Ring Size: B
Wing Length Adult: 110.8 ± 4.7 Range 102 - 117 mm, N =844
Juvenile: Insufficient Data
Male: 114.2 ± 3.1 109 - 119 mm, N =179
Female: 104.0 ± 3.1 100 - 110 mm, N =89
Weight Adult: 38.56 ± 3.70 Range 32.60 - 44.80 g , N =818
Juvenile: Insufficient Data
Male: 39.74 ± 3.63 34.40 - 46.10 g , N =163
Female: 35.49 ± 2.86 30.60 - 39.90 g , N =84
British Trust for Ornithology (2005) Ringing Scheme data

Other Names

Sky Lark
Gaelic: Uiseag Welsh: Ehedydd
Danish: Sanglærke Dutch: Veldleeuwerik
Finnish: Kiuru (Leivonen) French: Alouette des champs
German: Feldlerche Hungarian: Mezei pacsirta
Icelandic: Sönglævirki Irish: Fuiseog
Italian: Allodola Norwegian: Sanglerke
Polish: Skowronek zwyczajny Portuguese: Laverca
Spanish: Alondra común Swedish: Sånglärka
Collective Noun:Exaltation

For More Information...

Books and Monographs:
   Donald, P. & Vickery J. (eds) 2001 The ecology and conservation of skylarks RSPB, Sandy [598.851 DON]
   Donald, P. 2004 The Skylark Poyser, London [598.851 DON]
See Also:
Find scientific papers on Google Scholar or Scirus by clicking the icon
Wikipedia entry
HBW account (subscription required)
BirdLife species page
Recent sightings and information from BirdGuides