The British Trust for Ornithology
REED BUNTING
Emberiza schoeniclus
Reed Bunting © Tommy Holden
Conservation listings

Table 3/Red (>=50% Population decline)
Biodiversity Steering Group Priority Species List

Long-term trend
UK: Moderate decline
Waterways: Rapid decline since mid-1970s
Status summary
Both CBC and WBS indices declined rapidly during the 1970s, but Reed Bunting abundance has since remained remarkably stable. The previous increase in the CBC index has been associated with a gradual spread into drier habitats and it is likely that the subsequent decline was related to agricultural intensification. CES data indicate that the decline has continued and that it is associated with falling productivity. Howver, BBS data suggest that the 1990s were a period of population stability, as do both WBS and CBC data. Detailed demographic analyses suggest that the decline was driven by decreasing survival rates and that a subsequent population recovery may have been prevented by increased nest losses during the egg stage (Peach et al. 1999). This is supported by a moderate decline in CES productivity and an increase in failure rates at the egg stage (17 days, comprising 13 days incubation + 4 days laying) from 11% to 36%.
Table of population changes for Reed Bunting
Source Period
(yrs)
Years Plots
(n)
Change
(%)
Lower
limit
Upper
limit
Alert Comment
CBC all habitats 31 1968-1999 84 -48 -59 -33 >25  
  25 1974-1999 82 -63 -69 -55 >50  
  10 1989-1999 59 -25 -32 -13 >25  
  5 1994-1999 59 -20 -27 -13    
CBC farmland 31 1968-1999 52 -41 -59 -14 >25  
  25 1974-1999 49 -58 -71 -44 >50  
  10 1989-1999 41 -16 -30 3    
  5 1994-1999 40 -18 -25 -7    
WBS waterways 24 1975-1999 53 -68 -76 -55 >50  
  10 1989-1999 59 -14 -27 4    
  5 1994-1999 63 -13 -20 -3    
CES adults 15 1984-1999 59 -49 . . [>25*]  
  10 1989-1999 69 -39 . . [>25*]  
  5 1994-1999 78 -25 . .    
CES juveniles 15 1984-1999 41 -68 . . [>50*]  
  10 1989-1999 48 -56 . . [>50*]  
  5 1994-1999 53 -40 . . [>25*]  
BBS UK 6 1994-2000 329 -4 -14 8    
BBS England 6 1994-2000 250 -23 -32 -12    
BBS Scotland 6 1994-2000 39 37 -6 101   Small sample
BBS Wales 6 1994-2000 18 23 -26 102   Small sample
BBS N.Ireland 6 1994-2000 21 12 -24 64   Small sample
The Breeding Bird Survey is jointly funded by BTO, JNCC and RSPB
Table of productivity information for Reed Bunting
Variable Period
(yrs)
Years Mean
annual
sample
Trend Predicted
in first year
Predicted
in last year
Change Comment
Clutch size 31 1968-1999 48 None        
Brood size 31 1968-1999 66 Linear increase 4.04 chicks 4.21 chicks 0.17 chicks  
Daily failure rate (eggs) 31 1968-1999 56 Linear increase 0.0068 nests/day 0.0261 nests/day 0.0193 nests/day  
Daily failure rate (chicks) 31 1968-1999 55 None        
Laying date 31 1968-1999 54 None        
Percentage juveniles (CES) 15 1984-1999 62 Smoothed trend 151 productivity index 100 productivity index -34%[>25]  
Percentage juveniles (CES) 10 1989-1999 72 Smoothed trend 154 productivity index 100 productivity index -35%[>25]  
Percentage juveniles (CES) 5 1994-1999 82 Smoothed trend 130 productivity index 100 productivity index -23%  




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This report should be cited as:
Baillie, S.R., Crick, H.Q.P., Balmer, D.E., Beaven, L.P., Downie, I.S., Freeman, S.N., Leech, D.I., Marchant, J.H.,
Noble, D.G., Raven, M.J., Simpkin, A.P., Thewlis, R.M. and Wernham, C.V.
(2002) Breeding Birds in the Wider
Countryside: their conservation status 2001. BTO Research Report No. 278. BTO, Thetford. (http://www.bto.org/birdtrends)

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