Key facts

Scientific name: Alauda arvensis

Status: Resident breeding species

Breeding birds: 1,500,000 territories

Conservation status: Red

Family: Larks

Length: 18 – 19 cm

Wingspan: 30 – 36 cm

Weight: 33 – 45 g


Skylarks have brown upperparts that are streaked with darker brown. Their underparts are white, and their breast is pale buff, streaked with dark brown. They have yellow throats with dark streaks and pale fringes to their wings. Their tail is dark, almost black with white spots on their outer feathers.

Skylarks have longer feathers on their crown forming a small crest. Their eyes are dark brown, the bill is horn coloured, and their legs and feet are light brown. They have a rear toe that is longer than the others.

Both sexes look similar, but the male is larger than the female.

Juveniles  resemble the adults but are more heavily mottled.


Skylarks nest on the ground in a shallow depression concealed by grass. The female builds the nest with grass and lines it with finer plant materials and horsehair.

Skylarks lay 3-5 grey-white or green eggs with brown or olive spots which are incubated by the female alone for 11 days. During the incubation period the male will sing and fly over the territory. Chicks are fed by both parents and leave the nest after about 10 days. They fledge 10 days later.  


Skylarks eat insects, worms, seeds, and grain.   


Where to see them

Skylarks can be seen all year round across the UK.  They can be spotted in open countryside and although are hard to see on the ground it is easy to see them when in flight because of their distinctive song.


Ramit Singal/xeno-canto

Did you know?

The skylark’s song is fast, complex, and highly variable with anything from 160 to 460 syllables in the sing.  30 minute song flight performances have been measured although the average is about 2 minutes. 

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