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BTO Blueline
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BTO Blueline
Alauda arvensis
Skylark© Mike Weston
Conservation listings

Europe: SPEC category 3, vulnerable
UK: Red (>50% population decline)

Long-term trend
England: rapid decline
Status summary
The Skylark declined rapidly from the mid 1970s until the mid 1980s, when the rate of decline slowed; BBS shows, however, that the decline is continuing in England, and probably in Wales. 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 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).
CBC/BBS England graph
Table of population changes for Skylark
Source Period
Years Plots
Alert Comment
CBC/BBS England 33 1967-2000 327 -59 -67 -49 >50  
  25 1975-2000 396 -61 -67 -54 >50  
  10 1990-2000 779 -21 -28 -14    
  5 1995-2000 1206 -16 -18 -12    
BBS UK 8 1994-2002 1375 -14 -17 -10    
BBS England 8 1994-2002 1072 -20 -24 -17    
BBS Scotland 8 1994-2002 186 -1 -11 11    
BBS Wales 8 1994-2002 87 -11 -23 4    
BBS acknowledgement
BBS UK graph
BBS England graph
BBS Scotland graph
BBS Wales graph
Table of productivity information for Skylark
Variable Period
Years Mean
Trend Predicted
in first year
in last year
Change Comment
Clutch size 33 1968-2001 41 Linear increase 3.34 eggs 3.74 eggs 0.4 eggs  
Brood size 33 1968-2001 71 Linear increase 3.14 chicks 3.48 chicks 0.34 chicks  
Daily failure rate (eggs) 33 1968-2001 50 Curvilinear 0.0375 nests/day 0.0415 nests/day 0.004 nests/day  
Daily failure rate (chicks) 33 1968-2001 59 None        
Laying date 33 1968-2001 22 Curvilinear day 146 day 150 4 days Small sample
Clutch size graph
Brood size graph
Eg nest failure graph
Chick nest failure graph
Laying date graph
Insufficient data on CES
available for this species
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This report should be cited as:
Crick, H.Q.P., Marchant, J.H., Noble, D.G., Baillie, S.R., Balmer, D.E., Beaven, L.P., Coombes, R.H.,
Downie, I.S., Freeman, S.N., Joys, A.C., Leech, D.I., Raven, M.J., Robinson, R.A. and Thewlis, R.M. (2004)
Breeding Birds in the Wider Countryside: their conservation status 2003.
BTO Research Report No. 353. BTO, Thetford. (http://www.bto.org/birdtrends2003)

Pages maintained by Susan Waghorn and Iain Downie: Last updated 16 February, 2009