Yellowhammer (Emberiza citrinella)

The Yellowhammers, Emberiza citrinella, are perching birds n the bunting family Emberizidae.

In Southern United States, the unrelated Yellow-shafted Flicker, Colaptes auratus, is also known as the yellowhammer, particularly in Alabama, where it has been honored as its state bird since 1927.

Distribution / Habitat:

They occur naturally across Europe and much of Asia; and have been introduced to New Zealand in 1862 , where they are now common and widespread.

In Europe and Asia, they are mostly resident, although those occurring in the far north migrate south for the winter. They are typically found in open areas with some scrub or trees.

In the winter they gather together to form small flocks of birds.


The Yellowhammers measure about 15.5-17 cm in length. The males have bright yellow heads, yellow underparts and heavily streaked brown backs. The females have a much duller pluamge and are more streaked on the underside..

Call / Song:

The somewhat monotonous song of the cock is A little bit of bread and no cheese.


Its natural diet consists of insects when feeding young, and otherwise seeds.


They nest on the ground. The average clutch consists of 3 – 6 eggs with hair-like markings.

Photo of author

Team Beauty of Birds's team of experts includes veterinarians, biologists, environmentalists and active bird watchers. All put together, we have over half a century of experience in the birding space.

You can meet our team here.