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BTO Blueline
YELLOWHAMMER
Emberiza citrinella
Yellowhammer © Tommy Holden
 

• Population
  changes

• Productivity
  trends

• Additional
  information

Conservation listings
Europe: no SPEC category (concentrated in Europe, conservation status favourable)
UK: red (>50% population decline)
UK Biodiversity Action Plan: priority species
Long-term trend
UK, England: rapid decline
UK population size
792,000 territories in 2000 (1988–91 Atlas estimate updated using CBC/BBS trend: BiE04, APEP06)
Status summary
Yellowhammer abundance began to decline on farmland in the mid 1980s and, except in Scotland, the decline has continued ever since. The species, listed as green in 1996, has been red listed since 2002. While there is some evidence that survival rates have decreased during the period of decline, Yellowhammer breeding performance has tended to improve (Siriwardena et al. 1998b, 2000b). However, recent declines in clutch size, brood size and nest success are of NRS concern (Leech & Barimore 2008). The number of fledglings per breeding attempt rose until about 1990 but is now in decline. Overall nest failure rates are relatively high, probably because later nests, which tend to be more successful (Kyrkos 1997), are under-represented in the NRS data set, but this is unlikely to affect overall trends. Reductions in winter seed food availability as a result of agricultural intensification (for example, the loss of winter stubbles and a reduction in weed densities) are widely believed to have contributed to the population decline. Gillings et al. (2005) have identified better population performance in areas with extensive winter stubble, presumably because overwinter survival is relatively high. The local availability of winter setaside is a good predictor of sites chosen for breeding territories the next year (Whittingham et al. 2005). Numbers have shown widespread moderate decrease across Europe since 1980 (PECBMS 2010).
 
CBC/BBS UK graph

1967-2008: -56% (confidence interval -65% to -46%)

 
Population changes in detail
 

 Demographic trends

Fledglings per breeding attempt graph
Laying date graph
 
 
More on demographic trends
 
Additional information


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This report should be cited as: Baillie, S.R., Marchant, J.H., Leech, D.I., Renwick, A.R., Joys, A.C., Noble, D.G., Barimore, C., Conway, G.J., Downie, I.S., Risely, K. & Robinson, R.A. (2010). Breeding Birds in the Wider Countryside: their conservation status 2010. BTO Research Report No. 565. BTO, Thetford. (http://www.bto.org/birdtrends)

Pages maintained by Iain Downie, Mandy T Andrews and Laura Smith: Last updated 04.10.2010