Contents of report
Breeding Bird Survey
Common Birds Census
Constant Effort Sites
Nest Record Scheme
Waterways Bird Survey
What the categories mean
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1. This report provides a species-by-species overview of the trends in breeding population size and reproductive success of birds in the UK, covered by BTO monitoring schemes over the period 1968-1999.
2. The report covers the majority of breeding bird species, excluding colonial seabirds, which are well covered by the JNCC's Seabird Monitoring Programme (Thompson et al. 1998), and excluding the majority of species already covered by the Rare Breeding Birds Panel (Ogilvie 1996). Most wintering populations of waterfowl are well covered by the Wetland Bird Survey annual reports (e.g. Cranswick et al. 1997).
3. Population trends are described for the last 30, 25, 10 and 5 year periods in order to illuminate the patterns and scale of the changes.
4. The following species show rapid declines (of over 50%) or moderate declines (between 25 and 49%) over the 30-year period 1968-98 as measured by the Common Birds Census (CBC):
    Rapid declines:
16 species: Grey Partridge, Woodcock, Turtle Dove, Skylark, Tree Pipit, Song Thrush, Whitethroat, Spotted Flycatcher, Marsh Tit, Willow Tit, Starling, Tree Sparrow, Linnet, Lesser Redpoll, Yellowhammer, Corn Bunting.
    Moderate declines:
9 species: Lapwing, Cuckoo, Meadow Pipit, Dunnock, Blackbird, Mistle Thrush, Willow Warbler, Bullfinch and Reed Bunting..
  (It should be noted that trends for Woodcock, Lapwing, Meadow Pipit, Tree Pipit and Lesser Redpoll are derived from CBC plots that do not cover a major part of the species' distribution, but are biased towards areas of lowland England, and may therefore be unrepresentative of the major part of the population in the UK).
5. The following species show rapid declines (of over 50%) or moderate declines (between 25 and 49%) over the 23-year period 1975-98 as measured by the Waterways Bird Survey:
    Rapid declines:
3 species: Little Grebe, Yellow Wagtail and Reed Bunting.
    Moderate declines:
2 species: Grey Wagtail, Pied Wagtail.
6. A number of species have undergone substantial population increases, more than doubling, over the same time periods:
Mute Swan, Mallard, Tufted Duck, Sparrowhawk, Buzzard, Stock Dove, Collared Dove, Green Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Nuthatch, Reed Warbler, Blackcap, Magpie.
Mallard, Oystercatcher.

(Again, it should be noted that information for the CBC may be unrepresentative of the major part of the population for: Mute Swan, Tufted Duck, Buzzard and Reed Warbler, see Paragraph 4 above).


The report should be cited as: Baillie, S.R., Crick, H.Q.P., Balmer, D.E., Bashford, R.I., Beaven, L.P., Freeman, S.N., Marchant, J.H., Noble, D.G., Raven, M.J., Siriwardena, G.M., Thewlis, R. and Wernham, C.V. (2001) Breeding Birds in the Wider Countryside: their conservation status 2000. BTO Research Report No. 252. BTO, Thetford. (

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Last updated: 27 November, 2001

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