Eurasian skylark

If it is a rather dull-looking species, the Eurasian skylark (Alauda arvensis) is a wonderful singer, also famous for its flight.

Thanks to its brown plumage, the skylark is nearly invisible when it is on the ground. It has a short crest on the head, which can be raised and lowered.

The skylark lives in meadows and fields. The bird runs on the ground, where it finds its food, and squats when it is threatened.

Before seeing it, you will hear its melodious song. The bird flies high in the blue sky, still singing: the spiral rising flight followed by a swoop is characteristic of this bird.

The skylark has the richest musical repertoire amongst birds: more than 600 notes and syllables which are combined to form musical phrases. These phrases give useful information (mating, territory defense, altering to the resence of a danger…) and also tell emotions.

Hunting (which is still practiced in many areas), open-land loss, and modern farming techniques threaten the survival of this species.

The Eurasian skylark feeds on insects, larvae, and various seeds. A study showed that in winter, in France, a skylark can eat 38 species of seeds: all but one are considered as “weeds”, and no cultivated cereal was eaten. This shows the species’ dependence on fields that are full of wild herbs and not treated with herbicide.

 

Alouette des champs

Eurasian skylark

 

Less common than the Eurasian skylark, the Woodlark (Lullula arborea) has a very different – but also very beautiful – singing. The woodlark lives in semi-open spaces, such as forest borders, semi-open spaces, such as forest borders and moors, but it also goes to fields to feed.

Alouette lulu

Woodlark