Birds – The Skylark

Birds – The Skylark

The Skylark

The Skylark, male

In this article we will see: “The Skylark”, birds, diverse and captivating, grace our skies with their melodies. From vibrant plumage to impressive flights, they captivate with endless wonders.

Birds – The Skylark

Brief Background

Description: Length: 17 cm; folded wing: 97-123 mm; wingspan: approximately 35 cm; tail: 52-76 mm; beak: 12 mm. Weight: 35 g.

Appearance and Behaviour

Adults: Pale brown upperparts, lighter on the neck and darker on the back, with black spots forming longitudinal stripes; slightly crested crown; dark brownish-black tail with outer rectrices edged in white; yellowish-brown streaked breast; white belly; dark brown beak; black eye; brown legs.

When perched in fields or crouched on the ground, the Skylark often goes unnoticed due to its brown plumage mixed with black and yellowish tones, blending in with its surroundings. Lost amidst the chaos of clods of earth and tufts of grass, where it usually stays, it evades the most observant eyes.

But when it suddenly rises with its fluttering flight, revealing the two large white feathers bordering its tail, the Skylark finally appears in full view, especially during spring when courtship displays are at their peak. In February, the males take flight accompanied by a profusion of notes and fervently repeated stanzas. As it ascends slowly, almost vertically, the bird emits an uninterrupted, long trill, initially hesitant and then sustained, consisting of “tui-tui-tui-tui-tui” interspersed with occasional “u-u-u-u” and more clearly detached “pi-pi-pi-pi” sounds.

The Skylark

The Skylark, female

By soaring and marking its territory for a few minutes, the male then descends with its wings pressed against its body, gently landing. The males start their vocalizations even before dawn and continue until July.

Preferring large areas with low or sparse vegetation, the Skylark is found in fields, meadows, and fallow lands. It also settles near dunes, marshy areas, and wastelands but avoids grassy pastures.

Food of: The Skylark

During the winter season, the Skylark is granivorous, primarily feeding on insects and their larvae during spring and summer. It also includes worms and spiders in its diet.

The Skylark's voice sample

Reproduction of: The Skylark

By late February and even more so in March, pairs establish their territories, and the nest is built on the ground in a natural depression, sheltered by a tuft or clod. The female constructs the nest, which is made of dry grass and small roots assembled in a deep cup, with surrounding vegetation folded over as a roof. The first clutches appear in late March or early April and consist of 4 eggs.

The Skylark's eggs

The Skylark’s eggs

The eggs have a grayish-ashen or creamy background, veiled by numerous light brown spots, denser around the blunt end. Average size: 17 x 24 mm; weight: 3.5 g. The female incubates alone for two weeks, and then the chicks are fed by both adults. They leave the nest at around 10 days old and become independent at three weeks of age. The second clutch occurs in June, but eggs can be found until July.

Migration

Skylarks gather in flocks and migrate south starting from late August. During this time, France receives birds from Scandinavia and possibly Russia. Many individuals winter in northern Africa.

Distribution

The Skylark breeds throughout Europe, excluding Lapland. Its distribution extends from Turkey to Japan in the east. In the south, the species is found in North Africa.

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A final word

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