Skylarks and Woodlarks
How to tell them apart?
The first thing to understand is that Woodlarks will rarely be seen on farmland. They are birds of heaths and open forests. If you find a lark singing on farmland, it is 99% likely a Skylark in this country. Both of these birds, when singing, are likely to be in the air above you, they will often be far above you (but the videos below try to prove me wrong!)
When you get a good view there are four main identification features, apart from song, to note.
The Woodlark, a specially protected species, has a very short tail, noticeably stumpy. The broad wings have no white trailing edge, and the tail has just white tips. When on the ground or on a bush you can see a mark on the edge of the wing white black and white. (This photo shows it but it's very hard to see in flight).
The Skylark is mainly on farmland but can also be found on heaths. It has white edges to its tail and white trailing edges on its wings. It has a longer tail, looking proportionate rather than too short. The wing lacks the black and white pattern shown on the Woodlark.
The songs are magical but different - the Woodlark is my favourite birdsong.
Here is the sound of the Skylark -
And the Woodlark -
To see the birds and hear them have a look at these videos.
The Skylark (flight has been slowed down) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ssEZWMsQg_8
The Woodlark https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IRYPJTybCu8
NOTE: The Woodlark is one of the special birds that make protecting our heaths so important. With the Dartford Warbler and Nightjar they are the main reason for the special status of the rare heathlands we are so lucky to have surrounding us. Never approach their nests, it is illegal. They are red-listed. Read more here https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/wildlife-guides/bird-a-z/skylark/threats/
The Skylark is also red-listed, a bird of serious conservation concern due to falling numbers in their farmland habitats. (Read more here https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/wildlife-guides/bird-a-z/skylark/threats/)