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Woodlark

Woodlark

Resident

Nesting: located in small depressions dug in the ground adjacent to grass tussocks, heather or bracken.

Status

Breeding season:

  • Principal Biodiversity Species in Wales

  • The Population Status of Birds in Wales: Not listed20, 21

  • EU Birds Directive – Annex 1

  • Schedule 122 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981

Population trend and distribution

The woodlark was extinct as a breeding species in Wales from the mid-1980s until 2006 when one pair successfully nested in Gwent.

Mar Apr May

June

July

Aug

Sept

Feeding: during the breeding season woodlarks feed mainly on beetles, caterpillars and spiders, foraged from soil or short turf. During the winter, they eat seeds, often on stubble fields.

Conservation issues

Species requirements

Habitat: dependent on large (2–5 ha) open spaces on dry, sandy soil, eg clearfells in conifer plantations and dry pasture woodland where the field layer is sparse and unimproved. Young conifer re-stocks are used, especially those that are 2–3 years old (Langston et al. in press). Bare ground and short vegetation are used for foraging with scattered trees for song posts.

Any threat to the availability of open habitat could impact on this species. Severe winters; abrupt historical declines have been linked to severe winters, eg 1962/63 and 1981/82 (Langston et al. in press). Increasing soil fertility and wet summers, which combined may accelerate vegetation growth. Human disturbance, including unleashed dogs, may affect breeding productivity.

20 Not listed as considered a scarce visitor with an average of <5 records per years at time of review. 21 Preliminary assessment for 2008 revision of The Population Status of Birds in Wales: Amber-listed. 22 A specially protected species.

67

David Tipling/rspb-images.com

Figure 25 Breeding distribution of the woodlark in Wales.

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