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A photo of a Woodlark (Lullula arborea)
Woodlark

Woodlark

Lullula arborea

The Woodlark, or Lullula arborea, is a small passerine bird, the sole extant species within the genus Lullula. It is a modestly sized bird, measuring between 13.5 and 15 centimeters in length, and is approximately 20% shorter than its relative, the Skylark. Its plumage is predominantly brown with a paler underside, and it features a white-tipped tail, a small and often inconspicuous crest, and a distinctive white supercilium that meets at the nape.

Identification Tips

When observing the Woodlark, look for its brown upperparts and pale underparts, along with the white tips on its tail. The bird's crest is small and may not always be visible. In flight, the Woodlark displays a short tail and broad wings, which lack the white edges seen in the Skylark.

Habitat

The Woodlark favors heathland and open areas with sparse tree coverage. It is often found in clearings within pine forests, heathland, and areas with young pine saplings. The species has also been known to inhabit urban areas on rare occasions.

Distribution

The Woodlark's range extends across most of Europe, the Middle East, western Asia, and the mountains of North Africa. It is mainly resident in the western part of its range, while eastern populations are more migratory, moving southward during winter. The species has experienced a contraction in range, particularly in Britain, where it is now primarily found in southern England.

Behaviour

The male Woodlark's song flight is reminiscent of the Eurasian Skylark but with more fluttering. The bird ascends in a spiral, circling above the ground while singing. Both sexes may also sing from the ground or a perch. The Woodlark begins its vocal displays early in the season, often starting around February in Britain.

Song & Calls

The Woodlark's song is a melodious warble, often described as a "lu-lu-lu" or a more precise "serial lū-lū-lū-lū-lū-", toolooeet toolooeet toolooeet. This onomatopoeic representation reflects the bird's tuneful and distinctive vocalizations.

Breeding

The Woodlark constructs its nest on the ground using grass, bracken, roots, and moss. Nesting can commence early, with the first eggs sometimes laid by the end of March. Clutches typically contain three to five whitish, brown-speckled eggs, which are incubated by the female for 13 to 15 days. After hatching, both parents feed the chicks, which fledge after 11 to 13 days. The species may raise two or three broods annually.

Diet and Feeding

The Woodlark's diet consists mainly of seeds, supplemented by medium-sized insects such as beetles, flies, and moths during the breeding season. The female takes breaks from incubating the eggs to feed, usually for about eight minutes after every 45-minute incubation period.

Conservation Status

The Woodlark is currently classified as Least Concern by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. However, its populations have been in decline, and habitat loss due to agricultural expansion, abandonment, and development is a significant threat. Wildfires in England have also impacted the species, with some protected habitats being destroyed.

Similar Species

The Woodlark can be distinguished from the Skylark by its smaller size, shorter tail, and the absence of white edges on the tail sides and rear edge of the wings.

Woodlark Sounds



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Woodlarks on Birda

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