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.
Average lifespan: 2 years
Classified in the UK as Red under the Birds of Conservation Concern 4: the Red List for Birds (2015).
When to seeJanuary to December
AboutMale 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 identifyIf 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.
In our area
Suffolk Wildlife trust are working work with farmers to identify and improve skylark habitat on farms throughout Suffolk. Skylark breed successfully on many of our nature reserves.