The tree pipit is an about sparrow-sized, slim bird species. The upperpart is yellowy-brown with black longitudinal stripes. The underside of the body is cream-colored to yellow, whereas the chest has clearly black stripes. The inconspicuous bird often only becomes apparent because of its loud and melodic song, which is performed during flights. The long-distance migrant hatches in extensive parts of Eurasia and spends the winter in sub-Saharan Africa and on the Indian subcontinent. The tree pipit is bound to semi-open landscapes, such as forest edges, clearings and open space areas with occasional stock of trees. As a ground-nesting bird, the tree pipit needs a habitat with a dense herb layer in order to hide its nest. Hence, there are no tree pipits in intensely used agricultural areas.
The common redstart has a similar size as the more frequent black redstart. The male is remarkably coloured: the upper head and back are grey, the face and throat are black. A clear white stripe extends from the forehead, above the eyes, to the ears. Chest and tail are coloured in a flaming orange/red. The female is much less remarkably coloured, however differs from the similar black redstart female in having a touch of red on its chest. Similar to the black redstart, the redstarts stand out because of their seemingly nervous kinking on the song post. The species can be found in extensive parts of Eurasia, and spends the winter months as long-distance migrants in sub-Saharan Africa and in the South of the Arabian Peninsula. Redstarts feed primarily on insects hunted on the ground in a loose herb and shrub layer. As a cavity-nesting bird, the species is dependent on old trees. In the project area, this kind of habitat is primarily found in old orchards and other extensively used areas with occasional old trees.
The Woodlark is smaller than the widely known skylark. Her plumage is brownish with beige and black stripes on the upper side, while the bottom side is white with beige and dark stripes on the chest. The supercilia which unite at the back of the head are eye-catching. The chin and beard stripes are bright as well and thus spotted easily. Just like the skylark, the woodlark strikes because of its characteristic song while flying, a quite loud “Lülülü”. The species exists in wide parts of Europe, as far as Turkmenistan. The Northern, Middle and Eastern European animals are short-distance migrants and overwinter mainly in France, on the Iberian Peninsula and in the northern Mediterranean area. The woodlark mainly hunts near the ground, with small vegetation and clear areas. It uses sporadic shrubs and trees as perching sites. The nest is built on the ground in dense, herbaceous vegetation.
Situation and endangerment of the 3 species in the project-area
The woodlark can only be found in the Minette region. There are an estimated 20-41 breeding pairs, and the species is classified as “highly endangered” on the red list of Luxembourg. The tree pipit and the common redstart can be found more regularly in the project region; however the main area of distribution also lies within the Minette region. Both species are listed on the early warning stage of the red list of the breeding birds of Luxembourg (status 2009).
The species are affected by the intensification of agricultural practice, especially by the loss of landscape trees and fallow structures with dense herb layer. Furthermore, the abandonment exploitation and the following scrub encroachment of economically uninteresting areas induce loss of habitat. The common redstart is additionally endangered by the disappearance of old trees with suitable nesting holes.
Provisions within the project for the 3 species
Purchase of 3 ha and – if needed – removal of shrubs. Extensification of agricultural use.