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BTO Blueline

Pyrrhula pyrrhula

Bullfinch © Tommy Holden

• Population

• Productivity

• Additional

Conservation listings

Europe: no SPEC category (favourable conservation status in Europe, not concentrated in Europe)
UK: amber (25–50% population decline)
UK Biodiversity Action Plan: click here, priority species

Long-term trend

UK: moderate decline
England: rapid decline

UK population size
166,000 territories in 2000 (1988–91 Atlas estimate updated using CBC/BBS trend: BiE04, APEP06)
Status summary
The UK Bullfinch population entered a long period of decline in the mid 1970s, following a period of relative stability. The decline was initially very steep, and more so in farmland than in wooded habitats, but has been shallower since the early 1980s. CES and CBC/BBS both suggest there are large fluctuations around the overall downward trend. The demographic mechanism of decline remains unclear (Siriwardena et al. 1999, 2000b, 2001), although agricultural intensification and a reduction in the structural and floristic diversity of woodland are suspected to have played a part through losses of food resources and nesting cover (Fuller et al. 2005). Alongside these factors, Proffitt et al. (2004) and Marquiss (2007) mention the constraints on survival outside the breeding season and the possible role of higher Sparrowhawk numbers on the ability of Bullfinches to exploit resources in some habitats. Recent decreases in brood size and in nest survival have raised NRS concern (Leech & Barimore 2008), and the trend in fledglings per breeding attempt is downward. Numbers have shown widespread rapid decrease across Europe since 1980 (PECBMS 2010). The UK conservation listing was downgraded from red to amber in 2009, but the scale of decline still places the species near the borderline between these categories.
CBC/BBS UK graph

1967-2008: -47% (confidence interval -58% to -36%)

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 19.10.2010