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BTO Blueline
Emberiza schoeniclus
Reed Bunting © 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 to 2006)
UK Biodiversity Action Plan: click here, priority species
Long-term trend
UK, England: probable shallow decline
UK population size
192,000–211,000 territories in 2000 (1988–91 Atlas estimate updated using CBC/BBS and WBS trends: BiE04, APEP06)
Status summary
Both CBC/BBS and WBS/WBBS indices declined rapidly during the 1970s, but Reed Bunting abundance subsequently remained remarkably stable. In recent years, results from BBS indicate significant population increase. The early increase in the CBC index was associated with a gradual spread into drier habitats, especially farmland, and it is likely that the subsequent decline was related to agricultural intensification. 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 (Peach et al. 1999). This is supported by a moderate decline in CES productivity and by a major increase in failure rates at the egg stage, which has raised NRS concern (Leech & Barimore 2008). There has been linear decline in numbers of fledglings per breeding attempt. Farmland densities are four times higher in oilseed rape than in cereals or setaside and this crop is crucial in reducing the dependency of the species on wetlands (Gruar et al. 2006). The initial decline placed Reed Bunting on the red list but in 2009, with evidence from BBS of some recovery in numbers, the species was moved from red to amber.
CBC/BBS UK graph

1967-2008: -17% (confidence interval -38% to 9%)

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