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Predators and predation rates of Skylark Alauda arvensis and Woodlark Lullula arborea nests in a semi-natural area in The Netherlands

  • Libor Praus
  • Arne Hegemann
  • B. Irene Tieleman
  • Karel Weidinger
Publishing year: 2014
Language: English
Pages: 87-94
Publication/Series: Ardea
Volume: 102
Issue: 1
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Nederlandse Ornithologische Unie

Abstract english

Predation is a major cause of breeding failure in bird species with open nests. Although many studies have investigated nest predation rates, direct identification of nest predators is sporadic, especially in (semi-)natural habitats. We quantified nest success and identified nest predators in a population of Skylarks Alauda arvensis and Woodlarks Lullula arborea breeding in a protected semi-natural area dominated by heathland and different succession states of grassland on nutrient-poor soil in The Netherlands. We monitored 54 nests by means of continuous video surveillance to determine survival times and predators, and monitored another 44 nests without a camera. Fates of the 58 (40) Skylark (Woodlark) nests were: fledging 41(27), depredation 13 (12), egg desertion 1 (0) and nestling death 3 (1). The overall nest success of all monitored nests (58 (40), Mayfield estimate) was 33% (22%; all mortality factors considered) or 43% (25%; only depredation). Predators of Skylark nests were Red Fox Vulpes vulpes (5), Carrion Crow Corvus corone (1) and European Adder Vipera berus (1). Woodlark nests were depredated by Carrion Crow (2), Eurasian Jay Garrulus glandadus (1) and Red Fox (1). Results suggest that the main nest predators might differ between the two co-occurring lark species; Skylark nests located in more open sites were preyed upon mainly by Red Fox, while the main predators of Woodlark nests, located generally closer to trees, are corvids.


  • Biological Sciences
  • Alauda arvensis
  • Lullula arborea
  • nest predators
  • nest success
  • video
  • monitoring


  • ISSN: 0373-2266