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BTO Blueline
Emberiza calandra
Corn Bunting © Nicholas Watts

• Population

• Productivity

• Additional

Conservation listings
Europe: SPEC category 2 (declining)
red (>50% population decline, historical decline)
UK Biodiversity Action Plan: click here, priority species
Long-term trend
UK, England: rapid decline
UK population size
8,500–12,200 territories in 2000 (1988–91 Atlas estimate updated using CBC/BBS trend: BiE04, APEP06)
Status summary
Following an earlier, historical decrease, Corn Buntings declined very steeply between the mid 1970s and mid 1980s, with local extinctions across large sections of their former range. Subsequently the decline has continued, but at a much-reduced rate. Breeding performance per nesting attempt has increased considerably over this period (Crick 1997), but it is also reported that fewer birds now raise a second brood, thus reducing productivity overall (Brickle & Harper 2002). Brood size and nest survival at the chich stage are currently of NRS concern (Leech & Barimore 2008). Ring-recovery sample sizes do not permit an analysis of survival rates (Siriwardena et al. 1998b, 2000b). Any decrease there has been in survival rates is probably a result of the reduction in winter seed availability that has followed from agricultural intensification (Donald 1997). The isolated Corn Bunting population on the Western Isles is still declining rapidly, probably because agricultural change has reduced the supply of winter grain (Wilson et al. 2007). Targeted restoration of lower-intensity cultivation, but without hedgerows, might help prevent further local extinctions (Mason & Macdonald 2006). Management interventions in eastern Scotland have known potential to halt, or perhaps reverse, the Corn Bunting decline there, but their implementation is being hampered by rising grain prices and the loss of set-aside (Perkins et al. 2008, Watson et al. 2009). Corn Buntings have declined rapidly across Europe since 1980 (PECBMS 2010) and have declined to extinction in Ireland (Taylor & O’Halloran 2002). With declines across much of its European range, this previously 'secure' species is now provisionally evaluated as 'declining' (BirdLife International 2004).
CBC/BBS UK graph

1967-2008: -86% (confidence interval -94% to -75%)

Population changes in detail
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 14.10.2010