The British Trust for Ornithology
SKYLARK
Alauda arvensis
Skylark© Mike Weston
Conservation Listings

Table 3/Red (>=50% Population decline)
Biodiversity Steering Group Priority Species List

Long term trend
UK: Rapid decline
Status Summary
The Skylark declined rapidly from the mid-1970s until the mid-1980s, when the rate of decline slowed; the BBS shows, however, that the decline is continuing in England. Considerable research effort at the BTO and elsewhere in recent years has indicated that the most likely cause of the decline is the increase in the winter-sowing of cereals, which restricts opportunities for late-season nesting attempts because of vegetation height and may reduce overwinter survival by reducing the available area of stubbles (Wilson et al. 1997, Donald & Vickery 2000). Breeding success per attempt has increased during the decline (Chamberlain & Crick 1999, Siriwardena et al. 2000b). For a general review of the effects of agricultural practice on Skylark population trends see Chamberlain & Siriwardena (2000).
Table of population changes for Skylark
Source Period
(yrs)
Years Plots
(n)
Change
(%)
Lower
limit
Upper
limit
Alert Comment
CBC all habitats 31 1968-1999 120 -54 -61 -45 >50  
  25 1974-1999 120 -55 -61 -48 >50  
  10 1989-1999 105 -14 -21 -5    
  5 1994-1999 105 -9 -15 -2    
CBC farmland 31 1968-1999 85 -52 -59 -40 >50  
  25 1974-1999 83 -54 -60 -44 >50  
  10 1989-1999 80 -18 -25 -9    
  5 1994-1999 80 -10 -16 -4    
BBS UK 6 1994-2000 1382 -8 -11 -4    
BBS England 6 1994-2000 1075 -19 -23 -16    
BBS Scotland 6 1994-2000 191 0 -10 12    
BBS Wales 6 1994-2000 85 1 -13 18    
BBS N.Ireland 6 1994-2000 29 143 75 239   Small sample
The Breeding Bird Survey is jointly funded by BTO, JNCC and RSPB
Table of productivity information for Skylark
Variable Period
(yrs)
Years Mean
annual
sample
Trend Predicted
in first year
Predicted
in last year
Change Comment
Clutch size 31 1968-1999 42 Linear increase 3.35 eggs 3.72 eggs 0.37 eggs  
Brood size 31 1968-1999 73 Linear increase 3.13 chicks 3.47 chicks 0.34 chicks  
Daily failure rate (eggs) 31 1968-1999 51 None        
Daily failure rate (chicks) 31 1968-1999 60 None        
Laying date 31 1968-1999 22 Curvilinear day 146 day 149 3 days Small sample
Insufficient data on CES
available for this species




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This report should be cited as:
Baillie, S.R., Crick, H.Q.P., Balmer, D.E., Beaven, L.P., Downie, I.S., Freeman, S.N., Leech, D.I., Marchant, J.H.,
Noble, D.G., Raven, M.J., Simpkin, A.P., Thewlis, R.M. and Wernham, C.V.
(2002) Breeding Birds in the Wider
Countryside: their conservation status 2001. BTO Research Report No. 278. BTO, Thetford. (http://www.bto.org/birdtrends)

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This page last updated: 21 April, 2008

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