Hihi volunteer needed

Date posted: 18-Oct-2018

Would you like to volunteer with the Island's hihi team and learn from them how ..

2019 Calendars now available

Date posted: 05-Sep-2018

The new 2019 calendars are now available and this year's is better than ever! Th..

Winners of kokako photo competition

Date posted: 02-Sep-2018

The stunning winning photographs from those submitted to the competition as part..

Kokako Celebration

Date posted: 21-Jul-2018


Kokako Photographic Competition

Date posted: 20-Jul-2018

KĊŒKAKO PHOTOGRAPHIC COMPETITION Celebrating 21 years on Tiritiri Matangi To ce..

New monitoring reports published

Date posted: 19-Jul-2018

Reports on monitoring studies carried out over the past year have now been poste..

2018 Concert coming up soon

Date posted: 15-Feb-2018

Our 2018 concert will feature an afternoon of light classics and jazz courtesy of the Auckland Ph..

Wetapunga talk coming soon

Date posted: 05-Feb-2018

For the Social on 19 March the speaker will be Ben Goodwin of Auckland Zoo, who will talk about t..

Rat caught and now takahe released from pens

Date posted: 28-Jan-2018

Thankfully DOC staff Andre de Graaf and Polly Hall and their assistants have trapped the rat whic..

Your Christmas Shopping for a Song

Date posted: 04-Dec-2017

Aka - The Grand Christmas Shopping Expedition to Tiritiri Matangi Island Shop Dreading..


Scientific name:

 Alauda arvensis



Conservation status:

 Introduced and naturalised

Mainland status:

 Widespread and locally abundant


 18cm, 38g


 Not known in NZ, in Europe one was recorded at 8 yrs


 September - February


 Seeds, supplemented with invertebrates

Skylark - photographer Dr Kerry RodgersAt least 1000 skylarks were introduced into New Zealand between 1864 and 1875 and they quickly became well established throughout the country. They are now very common in open country, farmland, tussock grassland, sand dunes and sub-alpine herb fields.

This dull, yellow-buff bird is streaked and spotted brown on the upperparts and breast. The adult has a small crest, raised when alert.  In flight the white outer tail feathers and white trailing edge to the broad wings can be seen. During territorial flight displays between August and January, the male soars high and slowly descends, all the time singing a continuous trilling song. The other call is a liquid 'chirrup' usually made in flight.

Skylark - photographer Dr Kerry RodgersThe diet is mainly seeds of grass, cereals, sedges, clover and weeds. This is supplemented with invertebrates such as beetles, flies, spiders, bugs and larvae of flies, beetles and moths. Skylarks can cause damage to crops, feeding on newly-sown seeds and pulling up seedlings.

Some pairs remain on territory all year and breed together year after year. The female builds a neat grass-lined cup nest in a small depression in the ground, often concealed by an overhanging clump of grass, rush or tussock.  Between September and January, 2-3 clutches of 2-5 greyish eggs, heavily speckled with brown, are laid. The female incubates for around 11 days and both parents feed the nestlings. They leave the nest at 9-10 days old but do not fly until around 20 days old. The young breed at one year old.

Skylarks are not common on Tiritiri Matangi, but in spring the males can be seen and heard singing and displaying over open grassy areas such as Coronary Hill.

Find out more about the skylark at New Zealand Birds Online.

Photography by: Dr Kerry Rodgers ©

References: Heather, B.D.; Robertson, H.A. 2000 The Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand. Auckland, Viking. Moon, G The Reed Field Guide to New Zealand Birds.