Woodlark (Wood Lark)
Distribution Britain 73 (-62.8%) Ireland 0
Numbers breeding: Britain 1,552 RBBP Ireland 0
European status: 1,400,000 (0% in Britain and Ireland)
British population trend: huge increase: + 600% in 12 years
How likely are you to record it? 37 squares (0.8%) Ranked 123
The lovely song of the Woodlark has probably never been very commonly heard in the country but it was certainly widespread 150 years ago. Birds bred in all but the northernmost counties of England, through most of Wales and along the east and south coasts of Ireland. By 100 years ago they were mainly breeding near or south of the line from Gloucester to the Wash with the Irish birds lost from their last site in Wicklow there were two later breeding records in Wexford (1905) and Cork (1954). In Britain the decline carried on for another 20 years but then they began to increase again and re-colonised many areas north to Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire and Yorkshire. However by 1955, and particularly after the cold winter of 1962/63, they declined again to as little as 100 pairs. By the time of the first Breeding Atlas this had at least doubled (200-450 pairs) and then dropped again in 1975 to 160-180 pairs. Recovery was again quick with 400-430 pairs in 1981 but this was halved following cold winter weather in 1981/82. For the second Breeding Atlas 350 breeding pairs were estimated and by 1993 600 was the figure. By 1999 there were almost this many breeding in the Brecks alone! Excellent prospects for further increase and range expansion.
Sitters, H.P. at al. 1996 Bird Study: 43, 172-187.
UKBAP Forestry Commission RSPB.
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From The State of the Nations Birds
Copyright © 2000 by Chris Mead