Known for its beautiful song, the Eurasian skylark will fly up to 100m and then perform a slow, spiral descent whilst singing a complex range of songs, only quietening once it is within 10-20m of the ground. On the ground, they may continue to sing but more quietly. They will spend quite a lot of time on the ground, nesting and feeding, and being well-hidden amongst grasses found on sand dunes. Their nest is built by forming a depression in the ground which the female will line with stems, leaves and hair.
Skylarks are monogamous during the breeding season and with their one mate they can raise up to 3 broods of chicks, producing an average of 3 eggs per brood, and both the male and female will help in gathering food and protecting the nest. A Eurasian skylark can live for as long as 10 years and, whilst it is still fairly common in Britain, population numbers have recently dramatically declined.
The Eurasian skylark is a helpful farm assistant! Whilst it has developed a taste for spring cabbage and other crops cultivated for human use, they also eat the seeds of weeds and insects which would otherwise damage field crops, so they can help control pest populations and be helpful to farmers.
The Eurasian skylark is native and dispersed widely across the UK, with British populations being non-migratory. In terms of Dynamic Dunescapes sites, you could spot skylark on the Sefton Coast, in Cornwall, in Devon, in Lincolnshire, around Anglesey and Gwynedd, and around Swansea, Neath and Port Talbot.
The Eurasian skylark is up to 19cm in length with a wingspan of 30-36cm and weighs 17-55grams, the larger measurements relating to males. The male and female are similar in plumage, which is streaky brown with a white rear edge to the wings which can be seen in flight and a crest of brown feathers on its head, which becomes raised when excited or alarmed.
Dynamic Dunescapes is working to conserve dune habitats by clearing woody scrub which the Eurasian skylark dislikes, and keeping areas of the dune system as diverse grassland, which will encourage the continued use of the dunes as nesting sites.