Yellowhammer (Emberiza citrinella)

Yellowhammer © Darin Smith


The Yellowhammer is a rather large bunting, (about 10% longer than a chaffinch) with a distinctly forked tail. When the breeding season starts, the female yellowhammer creates cup-shaped nests made from moss and grass, laying between two to six eggs which will hatch after 12 days. Whilst the female is the only parent to look after the eggs, both parents collect food for their chicks until the chicks are ready to leave the nest. Young yellowhammers learn to fly at the age of 14 – 16 days and reach sexual maturity at 1 years old.


Yellowhammers are generally found on farmland and grassland feeding on seeds and insects.

How to identify/track?

Male yellowhammers have the characteristic yellow head and underparts whilst the females have an olive coloured head with differing amounts of yellow around their heads.

Did you know?

  • Also known as the scribbler lark for the random lines running across their eggs.
  • Male yellowhammers learn their songs from their parents and the females choose their mate with the largest vocabulary of songs.
  • Yellowhammers mate for life and generally have 2-3 broods a year.

Reserves where they are present


Others in the Bird Family

Barn OwlKingfisher

Print out a copy of the Yellowhammer factsheet

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