Woodlark - Lullula arborea


Smallest of the medium-sized larks with an erectile crest, short square tail, broad rounded wings, and fine bill, all combining into subtly but distinctly different form from Skylark. Plumage basically buff, well streaked above and on chest, with bold white supercilium which reaches nape and conspicuous black and white marks on carpal feathers. Tail tipped (not edged) white. Flight buoyant but strikingly hesitant, even recalling small bat. Sexes similar; no seasonal variation.

Identification difficulty

Primarily heathland or low moors.

When to see it

It can be seen at any time in the UK but in VC55 most likely during migration. Birds have been recorded in all months except January, June and August with most in April, September and October.

Life History

The breeding season varies a great deal according to local conditions and some males are monogamous whilst others are polygamous. The nest is usually placed on the ground in grass or herbage, but sometimes in low bushes or trees.

UK Status

The Woodlark has declined in the south west as a breeding bird whilst it has increased in other areas and is not uncommon in suitable habitat, such has southern heathland and the Brecks in East Anglia and there are also populations in Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire. In winter it leaves the more northern breeding areas but can be found in the south and East Anglia during the winter.

VC55 Status

The Woodlark was formerly a scarce breeder in Leicestershire and Rutland but is now a rare passage migrant, with most recent records referring to birds seen during visible migration.

be our species champion

Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map