Family Larks (Alaudidae)

Least Concern

Woodlark (Lullula arborea)


French: Alouette lulu German: Heidelerche Spanish: Alondra totovía

Alauda arborea


, 1758,



Yellow-tinged (fresh plumage) birds from Romania occasionally separated as race flavescens, and similar but marginally smaller ones from Crete as wettsteini, but both appear indistinguishable from pallida. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • L. a. arborea (Linnaeus, 1758) – S Fennoscandia, S Britain, France and N Iberia E to W Russia, Ukraine, N Italy and N Balkans.
  • L. a. pallida Zarudny, 1902 – S Europe and NW Africa E (including larger Mediterranean islands) to Turkey, Caucasus, Levant (S to N Israel), Iran and SW Turkmenistan.
  • Descriptive notes

    15 cm; 23–35 g. Medium-sized lark with relatively slender bill, longish broad wings and short tail (looking dumpy in flight), short erectile crest, distinctive plumage... read more


    Male song, in flight or from ground or perch, including at night, a clear, rich and melodious... read more


    Variety of open and semi-open habitats on well-drained soils, with preference for acidic sandy... read more

    Food and feeding

    Predominantly invertebrates during summer, vegetable matter in winter. Possibly more generally omnivorous throughout year than Alauda... read more


    Mar–Jul, exceptionally to Aug; 2–3 broods. Monogamous; solitary and territorial. Male has well-developed butterfly-like song... read more


    Resident, with short-distance dispersal, in W & S of range. Partial migrant in C Europe,... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Fairly common; rather sparsely distributed, and often local. Total European population in 1990s estimated at between 900,000 and c. 3,000,000 pairs,... read more

    Recommended citation

    Donald, P. (2019). Woodlark (Lullula arborea). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 7 December 2019).