Yellowhammer

Emberiza citrinella

About

The yellowhammer is a sparrow-sized, bright-yellow bird of woodland edges, hedgerows, heath and farmland that feeds on seeds and invertebrates. In the winter, they join mixed-species flocks of buntings, finches and sparrows to feed on seed in farmland. Yellowhammers are often seen perched on top of bushes singing their 'a little bit of bread and no cheese' song. The female builds a cup-shaped nest from grass and moss, laying between two and six eggs.

How to identify

The male yellowhammer is a striking bird: he has a bright yellow head and belly, with an orangey chest and streaky, brown back. Female buntings, including female yellowhammers and reed buntings, can be very difficult to tell apart.

Where to find it

Widespread

Habitats

When to find it

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • Novermber
  • December
  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September

How can people help

Yellowhammer numbers have decreased significantly over recent decades - a decline mirrored by many of our farmland and garden birds. Changes in agricultural practices, such as the removal of hedgerows and increased use of pesticides, have had detrimental effects, but The Wildlife Trusts are working closely with farmers and landowners to promote wildlife-friendly practices. We are working towards a 'Living Landscape': a network of habitats and wildlife corridors across town and country, which are good for both wildlife and people. You can support this greener vision for the future by joining your local Wildlife Trust.

Species information

Common name
Yellowhammer
Latin name
Emberiza citrinella
Category
Birds
Finches and Buntings
Statistics
Length: 16cm Wingspan: 26cm Weight: 31g Average Lifespan: 3 years
Conservation status
Classified in the UK as a Red List species under the Birds of Conservation Concern review and as a Priority Species in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan.