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Eurasian Skylark

From Opus

Photo by IanFSeaton Common, Seaton Carew, Cleveland, UK, May 2009
Photo by IanF
Seaton Common, Seaton Carew, Cleveland, UK, May 2009
Alauda arvensis

Includes Japanese Skylark


[edit] Identification


  • Brown above with streaked back
  • Buff, dark streaked breast
  • Streaked crown with crest
  • White belly and undertail coverts
  • White supercilium
  • White outer tail feathers
  • Thin bill
  • Pink legs

[edit] Similar Species

Similar to Oriental Skylark but can be distinguished by larger size, thicker bill, longer tail, white trailing edge to wings and whiter outer tail feathers. The primary projection is longer. Call is different.

Distinguished from Japanese Skylark by lack of rufous shoulder.

For differences between Eurasian Skylark and Meadow Pipit see this thread in Tips for New Birders Forum

[edit] Distribution

Breeds across most of Europe and Asia and in the mountains of North Africa. It is mainly resident in the west of its range, but eastern populations are more migratory, moving further south in winter. Even in the milder west of its range, many birds move to lowlands and the coast in winter. Asian birds appear as vagrants in Alaska; this bird has also been introduced in Hawaii and near Vancouver, Washington.

[edit] Taxonomy

[edit] Subspecies

Photo by gaviao-realMaashorst, Netherlands, August 2007
Photo by gaviao-real
Maashorst, Netherlands, August 2007

There are 13 subspecies[1]:
European Group

  • A. a. arvensis:
  • A. a. scotica:
  • A. a. guillelmi:
  • A. a. sierrae:
  • A. a. harterti:
  • Mountains of north-western Africa
  • A. a. cantarella:
  • A. a. armenica:
  • Transcaucasia and eastern Turkey to south-western Iran (Zagros and Alborz mts.)
ssp japoniaPhoto by Francksan.Hokkaido, Japan
ssp japonia
Photo by Francksan.
Hokkaido, Japan

Asian Group

  • A. a. dulcivox:
  • A. a. kiborti:
  • A. a. intermedia:
  • South-eastern Siberia to lower Amur River and north-eastern Manchuria; winters to eastern China
  • A. a. pekinensis:
  • North-eastern Siberia to Sea of Okhotsk, Kamchatka Pen. and Kuril Islands
  • A. a. lonnbergi:
  • Shantar and Sakhalin islands (Sea of Okhotsk); winters to Japan
  • A. a. japonica:

[edit] Habitat

Breeds in open countryside, fields, moors, rough grazing and sand dunes, etc. Winters beside estuaries, on golf courses and cultivated land.

[edit] Behaviour

JuvenilePhoto by Donald TalbottLoch Na Keal, Isle of Mull, Scotland, UK, August 2016
Photo by Donald Talbott
Loch Na Keal, Isle of Mull, Scotland, UK, August 2016

Gregarious in winters and often in large flocks. Often Dust bathes.

[edit] Diet

The diet includes seeds and insects.

[edit] Breeding

The 3-5 eggs are a dirty white colour and heavily marked with dark brown spots and blotches. They are incubated for 11-12 days; the young fledge 9-10 days later. There can be 2 or even 3 broods. The nest is well hidden in the grass.

[edit] Vocalisation

Song: is delivered from high in the sky.

Listen in an external program

[edit] References

  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2016. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2016, with updates to August 2016. Downloaded from
  2. mbr-pwrc.usgs
  3. eNature
  4. Observer's Book of Birds' Eggs

[edit] External Links


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