Yellowhammer

Scientific name: Emberiza citrinella

Did you know: The Yellowhammer’s song has been famously described as “A little bit of bread and no cheese”, capturing the imagination of poets and composers alike.

What Do Yellowhammers Look Like? (how to identify them)

Yellowhammers are distinguished by their vivid yellow heads and underbellies, contrasting with their brown, black-streaked backs and chestnut rumps. Notable for their striking appearance, especially the males, they are often spotted perching on hedges or bushes, melodiously singing. 

Sadly, their numbers are dwindling, classifying them as a Red List species in the UK.

Differences Between Male And Female Yellowhammers

Male Yellowhammers are a spectacle with their bright yellow heads and underparts. Females, while less vibrant, share a similar streaked pattern but are more muted in colour. These differences are key in identifying and appreciating the distinct beauty of each gender.

What Do Yellowhammers Eat?

Primarily, Yellowhammers feed on seeds and insects. They adapt their diet seasonally, incorporating more invertebrates during breeding times to support their chicks. This diet reflects their adaptability and resourcefulness in various environments.

Where Do Yellowhammers Live? (inc. migration info)

Yellowhammers thrive in open landscapes dotted with shrubs or trees across Eurasia, a testament to their adaptability. Interestingly, while most European Yellowhammers stay year-round in their breeding areas, their eastern counterparts partially migrate, seeking warmer climates during winter. 

These birds’ habitat preference includes farmlands and edges of woodlands, often forming small winter flocks for survival.

Bird Calls & Songs (the unique voices of Yellowhammers)

The Yellowhammer’s song is a charming series of notes. The tune consists of around 8 rising tones, ascending in pitch, succeeded by a solitary shrill note. It concludes with a protracted muted lower note, resonating like a wheeze. It is often likened to the phrase “A little bit of bread and no cheese.” This distinctive tune not only delights human listeners but also plays a crucial role in their communication and mating rituals.

Fun Yellowhammer Facts (kid-friendly)

  • Yellowhammers are about the size of a sparrow but are known for their much brighter plumage.
  • They can be seen all year round in the UK – a real treat for birdwatchers!
  • These birds are brilliant singers; their song sounds like they’re asking for a sandwich!
  • Yellowhammers build their nests on or near the ground, carefully hidden from predators.
  • Baby Yellowhammers leave the nest about two weeks after hatching – they grow up fast!

Yellowhammer Images

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Male
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Female
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Hatchling
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Nestling
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Chick
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Fledgling
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Juvenile

Facts About The Yellowhammer

Diet: Seeds and insects.
Bird Family: Buntings
Length: 16-16.5cm
Wingspan: 23-29.5cm
Weight: 25-36g
Scientific Name: Emberiza citrinella

The Yellowhammer Can Be Seen In The UK During The Following Months

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