New reports on ruru nesting and Island conservation

Date posted: 02-Oct-2017

Two new reports have been added to the website. The first gives details of a summer students..

2018 calendars now available

Date posted: 27-Sep-2017

Our latest calendar, beautifully illustrated with images taken on the Island, is now available fo..

Guided walks for photographers

Date posted: 21-Jun-2017

For a wonderful day of wildlife photography please join us on Tiritiri Matangi Island for a Ph..

Ferry discounts for Supporters

Date posted: 18-May-2017

Tiritiri Matangi Island, the perfect winter's day trip. The birds are at their best, warm up w..

More kiwi for the Island

Date posted: 04-Apr-2017

In 1993 and 1995, sixteen little spotted kiwi were released on Tiritiri Matangi Island. The ma..

2017 Photo Competition

Date posted: 22-Mar-2017

It is that time of year again when we are looking for entries for our photo competition (and phot..

The 2017 concert

Date posted: 05-Feb-2017

This year's concert promises to be another wonderful and unique experience. Click here (/concert-..

Shorebird Film Festival at Devonport

Date posted: 26-Oct-2016

Click here (/miscellaneous documents/DevWaderFilms.jpg) for details of a forthcoming film festival c..

Extra Dawn Chorus Trip

Date posted: 20-Oct-2016

Stop Press: Extra Dawn Chorus trip now scheduled for Thursday 27th October 2016. ..

2016 AGM

Date posted: 06-Sep-2016

The 2016 AGM was held at the Kohia Centre at 7:30 pm on Monday 19th September. Click here (/..

Skylark

Scientific name:

 Alauda arvensis

 

 

Conservation status:

 Introduced and naturalised

Mainland status:

 Widespread and locally abundant

Size:

 18cm, 38g

Lifespan:

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

Breeding:

 September - February

Diet:

 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.