Yellowhammer

Yellowhammer

Emberiza citrinella

Least Concern

A large member of the bunting family, the Yellowhammer is best known as a farmland bird. The bright yellow head of the male, combined with its high-pitched twittering whistle, makes it stand out against countryside hedgerows and freshly ploughed fields.

Appearance and Identification

Primary Color

Yellow

Primary Color (female)

Yellow

Primary Color (juvenile)

Brown

Secondary Colors

Brown

Secondary Colors (female)

Brown, White

Secondary Colors (juvenile)

White, Black

Secondary Colors (seasonal)

Wing Color

Brown

Wing Color (female)

Brown

Wing Color (juvenile)

Brown

Beak Type

Short

Beak Color

Pink

Beak Color (female)

Pink

Beak Color (juvenile)

Pink

Leg Color

Pink

Leg Color (female)

Pink

Leg Color (juvenile)

Pink

Distinctive Markings

Chestnut brown streaked back, yellow head and underparts

Distinctive Markings (female)

Less yellow than male, more heavily streaked

Distinctive Markings (juvenile)

More streaked and less yellow than adults

Tail Description

Short and brown

Tail Description (female)

Short and brown

Tail Description (juvenile)

Short

Size Metrics

15cm to 17cm

Length

22cm to 29cm

Wingspan

20g to 30g

Weight

Photos

Click on an image below to see the full-size version

Video

Vocalization and Sounds

Primary Calls

Distinctive 'little bit of bread and no cheese' song

Call Description

Repeated short notes followed by longer, lower pitched note

Alarm Calls

Sharp, short 'tik' sound

Behavior and Social Structure

Daily Activities

Active during the day, feeds in the morning and evening

Social Habits

Territorial during breeding season, forms flocks in winter

Territorial Behavior

Defends nesting territory with song and displays

Migratory Patterns

Northern and eastern populations migrate south in winter

Interaction with Other Species

Interacts with other seed-eating birds at feeding sites

Diet

Primary Diet

Seeds, Insects

Feeding Habits

Feeds on the ground, often in flocks outside breeding season

Feeding Times

Morning and evening

Prey Capture Method

Picks insects from leaves, stems and ground

Diet Variations

Eats more insects during breeding season, seeds in winter

Special Dietary Needs (if any)

None known

Nesting

Nesting Location

On or near ground in dense vegetation

Nest Construction

Bowl-shaped nest made of grass and lined with hair

Breeding Season

April to August

Number of clutches (per breeding season)

Up to three

Egg Appearance

Glossy, light blue with fine, dark speckles

Egg Size

Approximately 2cm x 1.5cm

Clutch Characteristics

3-6 eggs

Incubation Period

Around 12-14 days

Fledgling Period

Approximately 10-14 days

Parental Care

Both parents feed chicks, only female incubates eggs

Distribution and Habitat

Geographic Range

Europe and Asia, with some populations migrating to Africa

Habitat Description

Open countryside with hedgerows and woodland edges

Elevation Range

Lowland

Migration Patterns

Northern and eastern populations migrate south in winter

Biome

Temperate Forest, Grassland

Climate zones

Temperate

Distribution Map

Please note, this range and distribution map is a high-level overview, and doesn't break down into specific regions and areas of the countries.

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