Ortolan Bunting Emberiza hortulana


Taxonomic source(s)
AERC TAC. 2003. AERC TAC Checklist of bird taxa occurring in Western Palearctic region, 15th Draft. Available at: # _the_WP15.xls#.
Cramp, S. and Simmons, K.E.L. (eds). 1977-1994. Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The birds of the western Palearctic. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A., Fishpool, L.D.C., Boesman, P. and Kirwan, G.M. 2016. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 2: Passerines. Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.

IUCN Red List criteria met and history
Red List criteria met
Critically Endangered Endangered Vulnerable
- - -

Red List history
Year Category Criteria
2016 Least Concern
2012 Least Concern
2009 Least Concern
2008 Least Concern
2004 Least Concern
2000 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1994 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1988 Lower Risk/Least Concern
Species attributes

Migratory status full migrant Forest dependency low
Land-mass type Average mass 20 g

Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence (breeding/resident) 20,200,000 km2
Extent of Occurrence (non-breeding) 8,250,000 km2
Severely fragmented? no -
Estimate Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
Population size 8000000-17999999 mature individuals poor estimated 2012
Population trend decreasing - suspected -
Generation length 3.6 years - - -

Population justification: In Europe, the breeding population is estimated to number 3,330,000-7,070,000 pairs, which equates to 6,660,000-14,100,000 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015). Europe forms c.80% of the global range, so a very preliminary estimate of the global population size is 8,325,000-17,625,000 mature individuals, placed here in the range 8,000,000-17,999,999 mature individuals, although further validation of this estimate is needed.

Trend justification: The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction. Between 1980 and 2013 the European population underwent a steep decline (EBCC 2015).

Country/territory distribution
Country/Territory Presence Origin Resident Breeding visitor Non-breeding visitor Passage migrant
Afghanistan extant vagrant
Albania extant native yes
Algeria extant native
Andorra extant native yes
Armenia extant native yes
Austria extant native yes
Azerbaijan extant native yes
Bahrain extant native yes
Belarus extant native yes
Belgium extant native yes
Benin extant vagrant
Bosnia and Herzegovina extant native yes
Bulgaria extant native yes
Cameroon extant vagrant
Chad extant native
China (mainland) extant native
Côte d'Ivoire extant native
Croatia extant native yes
Cyprus extant native yes
Czechia extant native yes
Denmark extant native yes
Djibouti extant native
Egypt extant native
Eritrea extant native
Estonia extant native yes
Ethiopia extant native
Faroe Islands (to Denmark) extant vagrant
Finland extant native yes yes
France extant native yes yes
Georgia extant native yes
Germany extant native yes yes
Gibraltar (to UK) extant native
Greece extant native yes yes
Guinea extant native
Hungary extant native yes
Iceland extant vagrant
Iran, Islamic Republic of extant native yes yes
Iraq extant native yes
Ireland extant native
Israel extant native
Italy extant native yes yes
Japan extant vagrant
Jordan extant native yes
Kazakhstan extant native yes
Kenya extant vagrant
Kuwait extant native yes
Latvia extant native yes
Lebanon extant native yes yes
Libya extant native
Liechtenstein extant native
Lithuania extant native yes
Luxembourg extant vagrant
Mali extant native
Malta extant native
Mauritania extant native
Moldova extant native yes
Mongolia extant native yes
Montenegro extant native yes
Morocco extant native
Netherlands extant native yes
Nigeria extant native
North Macedonia extant native yes
Norway extant native yes
Oman extant native yes
Palestine extant native yes
Poland extant native yes
Portugal extant native yes
Qatar extant native yes
Romania extant native yes
Russia extant native yes
Russia (Asian) extant native yes
Russia (Central Asian) extant native yes
Russia (European) extant native yes
Saudi Arabia extant native yes
Senegal extant native
Serbia extant native yes
Seychelles extant vagrant
Sierra Leone extant native
Slovakia extant native yes
Slovenia extant native yes
Somalia extant native
South Korea extant vagrant
Spain extant native yes
Sudan extant native yes
Sweden extant native yes
Switzerland extant native yes
Syria extant native yes yes
Tajikistan extant vagrant
Tunisia extant native
Türkiye extant native yes
Turkmenistan extant native yes
Uganda extant native
Ukraine extant native yes
United Arab Emirates extant native yes
United Kingdom extant native yes
Uzbekistan extant native
Western Sahara extant native
Yemen extant native yes yes

Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA)
Country/Territory IBA Name
Portugal Montesinho and Nogueira mountains
Portugal Gerês mountains
Greece Mount Oiti
Greece Kato Olympos, Tempi gorge and mount Ossa
Greece Filiouri valley and eastern Rodopi mountains
Greece Kompsatos valley
Russia (European) Buzulukski forest
Russia (European) Insaro-Kovylkinski
Russia (European) Flood-plain of Alatyr' river in vicinity of Ardatov
Russia (European) Zhigulevski Nature Reserve
France Vallée de la Loire : gorges de la Loire
France Les Couzes Nord
France Hautes Vallées d'Aspe et d'Ossau
France Montagne de la Clape
France Gorges de la Vis et cirque de Navacelles
France Hautes garrigues du Montpellierais
France Minervois
France Montagnes de Marcou, de l'Espinouse et du Caroux
France Massif du Petit Lubéron
France Plaine des Maures
France Parc National des Ecrins
France Plaines de Mirebeau et de Neuville-du-Poitou
France Forêt de Saou
Italy Valli di Comacchio and Bonifica del Mezzano
Germany Ponds and Elbe valley near Torgau
Germany Bogs and heathlands of the Westmünsterland
Germany Altmühl valley between Treuchtlingen and Leutershausen with Altmühlsee
Germany Wahner Heide
Germany Danube valley: Neu-Ulm - Lauingen incl. Faiminger Stausee, Donau-Moos, and Gundelfinger Moos
Germany Wagbach lowlands
Germany Märkische Schweiz
Estonia Lahemaa
Estonia Väinameri
Czechia Hovoransko-Cejkovicko
Portugal Estrela Mountains
Bulgaria Strandzha
Bulgaria Provadiysko-Royaksko plateau
Bulgaria Ludogorie
Bulgaria Western Balkan
Bulgaria Studenets
Bulgaria Mesta Valley
Bulgaria Zlatiata
Bulgaria Devetashko Plateau
Bulgaria Kamchiyska Mountain
Bulgaria Sredna Gora
Austria Inn valley between Stams and Haiming
Italy Albegna river valley
Italy Colfiorito
Italy Sibillini mountains
Italy Sirente, Velino and Duchessa mountains
Italy Maiella, Pizzi and Frentani mountains
Italy Abruzzo National Park
Italy Gran Sasso and Laga mountains
Russia (European) Karabash-Kudashskaya forest-steppe
Germany Isar valley: Gottfrieding - Plattling incl. Isar mouth
Germany Schorfheide-Chorin
Germany Unteres Rhinluch-Dreetzer See / Havelländisches Luch / Belziger Landschaftswiesen
Germany Spreewald
Germany Landgraben and Dumme lowlands
Germany Lucie and Landwehr
Germany Vorderer Steigerwald - Windsheimer Bucht - Steigerwald-Vorland
Germany Farmlands north of Ludwigslust
Germany Farmlands between Crivitz and Parchim
Germany Hohe Geest near Himbergen / Bad Bodenteich
Germany Kuppendorfer Böhrde
Germany Farmlands Prignitz with Stepenitz valley (BB) and eastern Grabow (MV)
Germany Main valley and Steiger foothills near Schweinfurt and Volkach
Germany Gohrischheide
Germany Farmlands west and south of Plauer See
Germany Colblitz-Letzlinger Heide
Germany Farmlands near Kusey (Altmark)
Germany Drömling (Sachsen-Anhalt)
Germany Landgraben-Dumme lowlands
Germany Retzower Heide
Romania Allah Bair - Capidava
Romania Dunăre - Canarale - Hârşova
Romania Dobrogei gorge
Romania Nerei gorge - Beuşniţa
Romania Dorohoi - Şaua Bucecei
Romania Dumbrăveni - Plopeni
Romania Dunărea Veche (Braţul Măcin)
Romania Almăjului Mountains - Locvei
Romania Măcin - Niculiţel
Lithuania Nemunas delta regional Park
Slovenia Karst
Croatia Mount Velebit
Croatia Gorski Kotar and Northern Lika
Croatia Mt Dinara
Croatia Mount Ucka and Cicarija
Croatia Mount Biokovo and Rilic
Serbia Toplica
Serbia Stara mountains
Serbia Svrljisko pobrdje
Serbia Timocko pobrdje
Serbia Tupiznica and Beli Timok
Montenegro Bratogost
Montenegro Lovćen and Paštrovići Mountains
Montenegro Lastva Cevska
Montenegro Rumija

Habitats & altitude
Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Artificial/Terrestrial Plantations suitable breeding
Artificial/Terrestrial Plantations suitable non-breeding
Desert Temperate suitable breeding
Desert Temperate suitable non-breeding
Grassland Temperate suitable breeding
Grassland Temperate suitable non-breeding
Shrubland Mediterranean-type Shrubby Vegetation suitable breeding
Shrubland Mediterranean-type Shrubby Vegetation suitable non-breeding
Shrubland Temperate marginal resident
Altitude 0 - 2400 m Occasional altitudinal limits  

Purpose Primary form used Life stage used Source Scale Level Timing
Food - human - - non-trivial recent
Pets/display animals, horticulture - - international non-trivial recent
Sport hunting/specimen collecting - - non-trivial recent

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2024) Species factsheet: Emberiza hortulana. Downloaded from on 22/02/2024.
Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2024) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 22/02/2024.