Wider Countryside Report Header
BTO Blueline
Main WCR menu image Site navigation menu item Results overview menu item Other info menu item BTO website menu item
BTO Blueline
Alauda arvensis
Skylark© Mike Weston
Conservation listings
Europe: SPEC category 3 (depleted)
UK: red (>50% population decline)
Long-term trend
England: rapid decline
Distribution maps
Maps and statistics from British and Irish
atlases can be viewed here.
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, at least 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 area of stubbles (Wilson et al. 1997, Donald & Vickery 2000; for more information, click here). Breeding success per nesting 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 35 1967-2002 348 -60 -68 -52 >50  
  25 1977-2002 444 -61 -66 -56 >50  
  10 1992-2002 944 -21 -26 -16    
  5 1997-2002 1224 -10 -13 -8    
BBS UK 9 1994-2003 1378 -14 -17 -10    
BBS England 9 1994-2003 1074 -20 -23 -16    
BBS Scotland 9 1994-2003 183 -1 -11 10    
BBS Wales 9 1994-2003 88 -10 -22 5    
BBS N.Ireland 9 1994-2003 31 -7 -34 31    
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 34 1968-2002 39 Linear increase 3.35 eggs 3.74 eggs 0.39 eggs  
Brood size 34 1968-2002 68 Linear increase 3.14 chicks 3.48 chicks 0.34 chicks  
Daily failure rate (eggs) 34 1968-2002 47 None        
Daily failure rate (chicks) 34 1968-2002 56 None        
Laying date 34 1968-2002 20 Curvilinear day 146 day 151 5 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
BTO blue divider
BirdWeb logo, click to go to BirdWeb

BTO Home | JNCC Home
BTO, The Nunnery, Thetford, Norfolk IP24 2PU, UK.
 © British Trust for Ornithology (Registered Charity Number 216652).
Terms and Conditions
| Privacy Statement          Email:

This report should be cited as:
Baillie, S.R., Marchant, J.H., Crick, H.Q.P., Noble, D.G., 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. (2005)
Breeding Birds in the Wider Countryside: their conservation status 2004.
BTO Research Report No. 385. BTO, Thetford. (http://www.bto.org/birdtrends)

Pages maintained by Susan Waghorn and Iain Downie: Last updated 18 January, 2006