Larks and pipits

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Larks and pipits are ground-dwelling birds, mostly brown-streaked, and living mainly on insects. The skylark is well known for its habit of spiralling upwards in song. It nests on the ground in arable fields or pasture. Although still widespread it is in serious decline, probably because insect food is scarce on most farmland today. Woodlarks usually nest on heaths or downland and, because there is so little suitable habitat in Essex, are very scarce here.

Meadow pipits frequent open, rough dry grassland, which is mainly confined to coastal areas in Essex. They are residents, but their cousin the tree pipit is a summer visitor, nesting in open woodlands. Numbers have been declining through the 1980s and it is now very scarce.

Rock pipits and water pipits are occasional winter visitors to coastal areas.

© Alan Williams