Status: Common resident throughout Ireland in uplands and areas of farmland, especially cereal.
Conservation Concern: Amber-listed in Ireland. Evaluated as depleted in Europe, due to a large historical decline by BirdLife International.
Identification: A rather non-descript species, with much brown and black streaking. Adult Skylarks have a prominent white supercilium and frequently raise their crown feathers to form a little crest. Juveniles have much of the black streaking replaced by spotting and lack the crest. When flushed from the ground, keeps close to the ground unlike the similar Meadow Pipit which typically rises straight up.
Similar Species: Meadow Pipit, Reed Bunting
Call: Rather vocal. Commonest call is a “chirrup” or “trrrp” given in flight. The song, which can be heard from February/March to June, is a distinctive continuous stream of warbling notes. It can last up to half an hour and is usually given while the bird is flying 50 to 100 metres overhead.
Diet: Skylarks feed on a variety of insects, seeds and plant leaves.
Breeding: Breeds in a variety of habitats including cultivated areas, ungrazed grasslands and upland heaths.
Wintering: Usually moves out of breeding areas to winter in flocks on stubble fields, grasslands and coastal areas. Birds from continental Europe arrive in variable numbers from September and depart March/April.
Where to See: Widespread in Ireland.
Monitored by: Countryside Bird Survey.