Fascinating Facts


The Skylark is a small brown bird, larger than a sparrow but smaller than a starling. It is streaky brown with a small crest, which can be raised when the bird is excited or alarmed, and a white-sided tail. The wings also have a white rear edge, visible in flight. Its recent and dramatic population decline make it a Red Listed species.


Skylarks are ground-nesting birds and will breed from April to early August. Spring temperatures trigger the start of the breeding season and their choice of a nesting site is influenced by the height and density of the crop - the ideal vegetation height is 20-50cm. Skylarks generally make 2-3 nesting attempts in the same area of farmland during a long breeding season. The nest is a hollow on the ground, lined by the female with leaves, grasses and hair.

They will stop nesting if the vegetation becomes too tall or dense to allow them easy access. On livestock farms, Skylarks often nest in grass silage fields where frequent mowing causes many nests to be destroyed or predated.

The Skylark is renowned for its song flight and will use this to advertise their territories. The male bird rises vertically from the ground high into the air, hovering for several minutes before parachuting back down to the ground. All the time it is in the air the bird continuously sings its liquid warbling song. Song flights of up to one hour have been recorded, and the birds can reach 1,000 feet before descending.

There can be anything from 160 to over 460 syllables in the song.

Only the nightingale rivals the skylark’s reputation as one of the finest songsters in the bird world.

Despite the lark’s popularity as a songbird, it has long been regarded as a delicacy on the plate, and the price of skylarks has been recorded since the reign of Edward I.  Most larks were captured for the table by dragging nets across fields at night.

The Victorians also liked to keep male larks as songbirds, and a good singer would fetch as much as 15 shillings.