- Alauda campestris Linnaeus, 1758
IUCN: LC; Be (II); EUBD (I)
Value of species
In Sweden, a national species action plan was published in 2001 (Löfgren and Elfström 2001).
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
In Europe, the breeding population is estimated to number 909,000-1,720,000 pairs, which equates to 1,820,000-3,440,000 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015). Europe forms c.40% of the global range, so a very preliminary estimate of the global population size is 4,550,000-8,600,000 mature individuals, although further validation of this estimate is needed.
Trend Justification: The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats. In Europe, trends since 1991 are uncertain (EBCC 2015).
This species is found in open dry habitats, from sand dunes, sandy heaths, dry grassland and clear-felled areas to artificial habitats such as gravel pits, steppe and semi-deserts in central and eastern parts of the range. It favours areas with dwarf shrubs and low-growing trees for songposts. The breeding season is from mid-April to mid-August; although it is later in northern Europe, beginning in mid-June in Sweden and earlier in North Africa.
It is monogamous and the nest is a cup of grass stems, leaves and roots, lined with finer plant material and hair and built in a scrape or a hollow on the ground or in a tuft of grass. Usually four to five eggs are laid. The diet is mainly insects, although other invertebrates and seeds are also taken, as well as rarely small vertebrates (Tyler and Christie 2016). The species is almost wholly migratory with western populations generally wintering in the Sahel zone in sub-Saharan Africa and eastern populations generally moving to the Arabian Peninsula and southern Asia, east to the north-west Indian subcontinent (Tyler and Christie 2016).
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