One of the common buntings in Europe and so closely related to the New World sparrows. The male can be really smart with yellow head and underparts - streaked with chestnut - a chestnut back streaked with black and a very rich chestnut rump.
Young birds and grotty females are best told from other buntings by the warm rufous suffusion on their rumps. The male's song is a monotonous series of notes followed by a wheeze - 'a little bit of bread and no cheeeeeese'. Most Yellowhammers are sedentary but there is quite a lot of displacement South in the winter particularly in Western Asia - where they breed as well as Europe. Another species in decline in Britain but still a common bird with well over 1,000,000 territories in Britain and Ireland.
The common yellow bunting over most of Europe (not the South)
The following Bird On! pictures are available:
Yellowhammer (Watercolour by Robert Gillmor) Yellowhammer (Watercolour by Robert Gillmor)
Length 160 mm Closed wing 83 mm Weight 27 gms
A Bird On! Sketch by Chris Mead
Copyright © 1996 by Jacobi Jayne & Company and Chris Mead