Yellow-breasted Bunting Emberiza aureola


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
A2acd+3cd+4acd A2acd+3cd+4acd A2acd+3cd+4acd

Red List history
Year Category Criteria
2017 Critically Endangered A2acd+3cd+4acd
2016 Endangered A2acd+3cd+4acd
2013 Endangered A2acd+3cd+4acd
2012 Vulnerable A2acd+3cd+4acd
2008 Vulnerable A2a,c,d; A3c,d; A4a,c,d
2004 Near Threatened
2000 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1994 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1988 Lower Risk/Least Concern
Species attributes

Migratory status full migrant Forest dependency Does not normally occur in forest
Land mass type Land-mass type - continent
Average mass 20 g

Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 21,800,000 medium
Extent of Occurrence non-breeding (km2) 7,390,000 medium
Number of locations -
Severely Fragmented -
Population and trend
Value Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals medium estimated 0
Population trend Decreasing poor estimated -
Decline (3 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (5 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation future) 80-99 - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation past and future) 80-99 - - -
Number of subpopulations - - -
Percentage in largest subpopulation - - -
Generation length (yrs) 3.6 - - -

Population justification: In Europe, the breeding population was estimated to number 20,000-100,000 breeding pairs, equating to 60,000-300,000 individuals (BirdLife International 2004). Europe, at least formerly, formed 25-49% of the global range. The European population is now estimated to number just 120-600 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015).

Trend justification: There is widespread evidence from surveys and anecdotal observations of very rapid declines and extensive range contractions. The European population is estimated to be decreasing by 80% or more in 10.8 years (three generations) and by 25% or more in 3.6 years (one generation) (BirdLife International 2015). Across the range of the species it is estimated to have declined by 84.3-94.7% between 1980 and 2013 (Kamp et al. 2015). Assuming a constant rate of decline over this period, this would represent a 45.4-61.8% decline over 3 generations (10.8 years). However, declines are thought to have been very slow initially, and to have increased latterly (see Kamp et al. 2015). 

Reanalysing the data using in Kamp et al. (2015) over the 11 year period 2002-2013 (2013 being the last year with data), looking at the model-predicted values and expressing 2013 as a proportion of 2002 results in a decline of 70-89% for the 11 years, depending on the area used to extract densities to numbers (J. Kamp in litt. 2017). It would be preferable to fit the a linear model to predict abundance as a function of year, but there are not enough available data from 2002-2013 to do this reliably (many sites have only 1-3 years of data out of the 11, and at many others the species was already extinct or almost so). From the sites that do have data for the 11-year period, the decline was 99-100% at three sites and slightly less severe at others, e.g. c.84% decline between 1999-2013 at one site and c.50% decline at another (J. Kamp in litt. 2017). On this basis, it is now thought likely that the range-wide decline exceeded 80% in the period 2002-2013, but it is not possible to be certain due to a lack of data. If declines east of Lake Baikal were closer to 50% during this time, the overall rate of decline may not have exceeded 80%. If declines averaged 80% east of Lake Baikal, then the overall range-wide decline likely exceeded 90% in this period (J. Kamp in litt. 2017). On this basis, the rate of decline over three generations could lie within the range 50-79% or 80-99%, and on a precautionary basis the higher band is used here.

Country/territory distribution
Country/Territory Occurrence status Presence Resident Breeding Non-breeding Passage
Bahrain V Extant Yes
Bangladesh N Extant Yes
Belarus V Extant
Belgium V Extant
Brunei V Extant
Cambodia N Extant Yes
China (mainland) N Extant Yes Yes Yes
Cyprus V Extant
Czechia V Extant
Denmark V Extant
Egypt V Extant
Estonia V Extant
Finland N Possibly Extinct Yes
France V Extant
Germany V Extant
Greece V Extant
Hong Kong (China) N Extant Yes
India N Extant Yes
Iran, Islamic Republic of V Extant Yes
Ireland V Extant
Israel V Extant
Italy V Extant
Japan N Extant Yes Yes
Jordan V Extant
Kazakhstan N Extant Yes
Laos N Extant Yes
Latvia V Extant Yes
Malaysia N Extant Yes
Malta V Extant
Mongolia N Extant Yes
Myanmar N Extant Yes
Nepal N Extant Yes
Netherlands V Extant
North Korea N Extant Yes
Norway V Extant
Oman V Extant
Pakistan N Extant Yes
Philippines V Extant
Poland V Extant
Portugal V Extant
Russia N Extant Yes
Russia (Asian) N Extant Yes
Russia (Central Asian) N Extant Yes
Russia (European) N Extant Yes
Saudi Arabia V Extant Yes
Singapore N Extant Yes
South Korea N Extant Yes
Spain V Extant
Sweden V Extant
Syria V Extant Yes
Taiwan, China N Extant Yes
Thailand N Extant Yes
Turkey V Extant
United Arab Emirates V Extant Yes
United Kingdom V Extant
USA V Extant
Vietnam N Extant Yes

Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA)
Country/Territory IBA Name
Greece Dionysades islets, Crete
Finland Siikalahti bay and Sammallampi lake
Finland Maaninka wetlands
Finland Outokumpu wetlands
Finland Värtsilä valley
Finland Ahmasjärvi lake
Russia (European) Dedinovo flood-plain of Oka river
Russia (Central Asian) Kileinoye bog
Russia (Central Asian) Flood-plain of the Tuy river
Russia (Central Asian) Sibirskaya anabranch (Irtysh flood-plain)
Russia (Central Asian) Zapovednik "Denezhkin Kamen'"
Russia (Central Asian) Ata-Anay Lake
Russia (Central Asian) Pershinsko-Manatkinsky area
Russia (Central Asian) Baturino-Simansky area
Russia (Central Asian) Kataiginskiye bogs
Russia (Central Asian) Bol'shoy and Maly Akh lakes
Russia (Central Asian) Dikoye and Epanchino lakes
Russia (Central Asian) Bol'shaya Indra lake
Russia (Central Asian) Dvuob'ye
Mongolia Khan Khentii Strictly Protected Area
Mongolia Gorkhi-Terelj National Park
Russia (Asian) Sayanski canyon of the Enisey river
Russia (Asian) Islands of the Enisey river near Shushenskoye
Russia (Asian) Perovo lake
Russia (Central Asian) Bobrovsko-Rasskazikhinskaya
Russia (Central Asian) Seketovo, Rakhtovo and Artevo lakes
Russia (European) Pinezhski meadow
Mongolia Khokh Serkhiin Nuruu
Nepal Nawalparasi forests
Nepal Chitwan National Park
Nepal Farmlands in Lumbini area
Nepal Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve and Koshi Barrage
Nepal Langtang National Park
Nepal Sukla Phanta Wildlife Reserve
Laos Pakxan Wetlands
Russia (Asian) Barluksko-Sayanskaya floodplain of Oka river and Kuitunskaya foreststeppe
Russia (Asian) Aginskiye lakes
Russia (Asian) Bain-Tsaganskiye lakes
Russia (Asian) Middle Onon
Japan Kiritappu marsh, Biwase bay
Thailand Bung Boraphet
Thailand Lower Central Basin
Thailand Mae Wong
Myanmar Indawgyi Grassland and Indaw Chaung Wetland
Myanmar Maletto Inn
Myanmar Yelegale
Kazakhstan Karakol Lake
Kazakhstan Shoshkakol Lakes
Kazakhstan Sorbulak Lake System

Habitats & altitude
Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Artificial/Terrestrial Arable Land major non-breeding
Grassland Temperate suitable breeding
Grassland Temperate suitable non-breeding
Shrubland Boreal suitable breeding
Shrubland Boreal suitable non-breeding
Wetlands (inland) Bogs, Marshes, Swamps, Fens, Peatlands suitable breeding
Wetlands (inland) Bogs, Marshes, Swamps, Fens, Peatlands suitable non-breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Rivers/Streams/Creeks (includes waterfalls) suitable breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Rivers/Streams/Creeks (includes waterfalls) suitable non-breeding
Altitude   Occasional altitudinal limits  

Threats & impact
Threat (level 1) Threat (level 2) Impact and Stresses
Agriculture & aquaculture Annual & perennial non-timber crops - Agro-industry farming Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Slow, Significant Declines Medium Impact: 6
Ecosystem degradation
Biological resource use Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals - Intentional use (species is the target) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Whole (>90%) Very Rapid Declines High Impact: 9
Species mortality
Pollution Agricultural & forestry effluents - Herbicides and pesticides Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Slow, Significant Declines Medium Impact: 6
Ecosystem degradation

Purpose Primary form used Life stage used Source Scale Level Timing
Food - human - - Non-trivial Recent
Pets/display animals, horticulture - - International Non-trivial Recent

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Emberiza aureola. Downloaded from on 22/03/2023. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 22/03/2023.