- Alauda pratensis Linnaeus, 1758
IUCN: NT; Be (II)
Value of species
This species has been uplisted to Near Threatened as its global population has probably declined by more than 25% over the last three generations, and is continuing to decline, thus approaching the threshold for Vulnerable under the population size reduction criterion (A2abc+3bc+4abc).
This species is widespread across Europe. Its range extends from eastern Greenland (Denmark) in the west, across northern Europe to the central and southern high mountains and to the River Ob, east of the Urals, Russia. Small isolated populations are also found in the central Apennines in Italy and in the mountains along the border of Georgia and Armenia (Hagemeijer and Blair 1997). Western European populations are largely resident or undertake partial migration (Tyler 2004). Northern and eastern populations winter in western, central and southern Europe into coastal north Africa and the Middle East, moving as far south as south-west Mauritania. Birds breeding in western Siberia migrate to south-west Asia from Iraq and Iran east to Uzbekistan.
In Europe, the breeding population is estimated to number 9,670,000-15,000,000 pairs, which equates to approximately 19,300,000-30,000,000 mature individuals and 28,950,000-45,000,000 individuals (BirdLife International 2015). Europe forms 75-94% of the global range, so a very preliminary estimate of the global population size is 20,500,000-40,000,000 mature individuals and 30,800,000-60,000,000 individuals although further validation of this estimate is needed.
Trend Justification: In Europe, trends since 1980 show that populations have undergone a moderate decline (p<0.01), based on provisional data for 21 countries from the Pan-European Common Bird Monitoring Scheme (EBCC/RSPB/BirdLife/Statistics Netherlands; P. Vorisek in litt. 2008). Recently published data for the European Red List of Birds shows that the population size in Europe is estimated to be decreasing at a rate approaching 30% in 11.4 years (three generations) (BirdLife International 2015). No information is available about the trends of the Russian breeding population, which extends just east of the Ural Mountains into West Siberia, but the Russian population comprises only c. 15% of the European population (BirdLife International 2015). The global population is therefore thought to be declining at a moderately rapid rate.
This species breeds in a wide range of open habitats, such as tundra, moorland and heathland, bogs, saltmarshes, dunes, coastal meadows, hillsides, forest clearings, fallow land and occasionally in arable land. In the winter it is also found along seashores. It breeds from late March to August. The nest is a neat cup of grass, lined with finer grass and hair and is concealed amongst vegetation on the ground. Clutches range from two to seven eggs and clutch size increases with latitude (Tyler 2004). It feeds mainly on invertebrates but does consume some plant seeds in the autumn and winter (Snow and Perrins 1998).
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