Capsule Skylarks breeding in Ireland prefer extensive grassland habitats and almost completely avoid tillage habitats.Aims To describe the distribution and habitat use of breeding Skylarks in Ireland, particularly in lowland agricultural habitats, and to use this information to inform conservation measures for this species.Methods Countryside Bird Survey (CBS) and Farmland Bird Project (FBP) data were examined to determine large-scale (national) distribution and habitat selection, in addition to smaller-scale (farm-and field-level) habitat use. The CBS is a national breeding bird monitoring scheme involving 397 1-km squares. The FBP collected detailed bird and habitat data from 122 farms.Results CBS and FBP data both showed significant regional differences in breeding Skylark densities, with the highest relative abundances in the northwest and west. Dry grassland/grass moor habitats supported the highest densities of breeding Skylarks in the CBS, which were significantly higher than in improved grassland or tillage. At the farm-level, Skylark numbers were positively related to wetland habitats but negatively associated with trees in field boundaries, dense ground vegetation and overall density of farm boundaries. At the field-scale, larger fields and unimproved grasslands were preferred.Conclusion Agri-environment measures tailored to region-specific requirements and to the relatively local habitat preferences of target species are required if population declines of species of conservation concern, including Skylarks, are to be reversed.