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BTO Blueline
YELLOWHAMMER
Emberiza citrinella
Yellowhammer © Tommy Holden
 
Conservation listings

Europe: SPEC category 4, (secure)
UK: Red (>50% population decline)

Long-term trend
UK, England: rapid decline
Status summary
Yellowhammer abundance began to decline on farmland in the mid 1980s and the decline has continued ever since. The species, listed as Green in 1996, now qualifies for the Red list. While there is some evidence that survival rates have decreased during the period of decline, Yellowhammer breeding performance has tended to increase (Siriwardena et al. 1998b, 2000b). However, recent declines in brood size and egg-stage failure rates are potentially of concern. 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.
CBC/BBS UK graph
Table of population changes for Yellowhammer
Source Period
(yrs)
Years Plots
(n)
Change
(%)
Lower
limit
Upper
limit
Alert Comment
CBC/BBS UK 33 1967-2000 338 -53 -62 -40 >50  
  25 1975-2000 401 -54 -61 -47 >50  
  10 1990-2000 745 -34 -41 -29 >25  
  5 1995-2000 1137 -10 -13 -7    
CBC/BBS England 33 1967-2000 295 -53 -63 -41 >50  
  25 1975-2000 351 -56 -63 -48 >50  
  10 1990-2000 650 -36 -42 -29 >25  
  5 1995-2000 989 -11 -14 -7    
BBS UK 8 1994-2002 995 -13 -18 -9    
BBS England 8 1994-2002 864 -17 -22 -13    
BBS Scotland 8 1994-2002 86 8 -11 32    
BBS Wales 8 1994-2002 37 -31 -50 -4 (>25)  
BBS acknowledgement
CBC/BBS England graph
CES adult abundance graph
CES juvenile abundance graph
BBS UK graph
BBS England graph
BBS Scotland graph
BBS Wales graph
Table of productivity information for Yellowhammer
Variable Period
(yrs)
Years Mean
annual
sample
Trend Predicted
in first year
Predicted
in last year
Change Comment
Clutch size 33 1968-2001 44 None        
Brood size 33 1968-2001 69 Curvilinear 2.96 chicks 3.09 chicks 0.13 chicks  
Daily failure rate (eggs) 33 1968-2001 66 Curvilinear 0.0514 nests/day 0.0332 nests/day -0.0182 nests/day  
Daily failure rate (chicks) 33 1968-2001 53 Curvilinear 0.0462 nests/day 0.0344 nests/day -0.0118 nests/day  
Laying date 33 1968-2001 27 Linear increase day 150 day 157 7 days Small sample
Clutch size graph
Brood size graph
Egg nest failure graph
Chick nest failure graph
Laying date graph
CES productivity graph
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This report should be cited as:
Crick, H.Q.P., Marchant, J.H., Noble, D.G., Baillie, S.R., Balmer, D.E., Beaven, L.P., Coombes, R.H.,
Downie, I.S., Freeman, S.N., Joys, A.C., Leech, D.I., Raven, M.J., Robinson, R.A. and Thewlis, R.M. (2004)
Breeding Birds in the Wider Countryside: their conservation status 2003.
BTO Research Report No. 353. BTO, Thetford. (http://www.bto.org/birdtrends2003)

Pages maintained by Susan Waghorn and Iain Downie: Last updated 16 February, 2009