Emberiza hortulana 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Passeriformes Emberizidae

Scientific Name: Emberiza hortulana Linnaeus, 1758
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Ortolan Bunting
French Bruant Ortolan
Taxonomic Source(s): 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.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2017
Date Assessed: 2016-10-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Contributor(s): Dowsett, R.J.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Ashpole, J, Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J.
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Countries occurrence:
Albania; Algeria; Andorra; Armenia; Austria; Azerbaijan; Bahrain; Belarus; Belgium; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Bulgaria; Chad; China; Côte d'Ivoire; Croatia; Cyprus; Czech Republic; Denmark; Djibouti; Egypt; Eritrea; Estonia; Ethiopia; Finland; France; Georgia; Germany; Gibraltar; Greece; Guinea; Hungary; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Iraq; Ireland; Israel; Italy; Jordan; Kazakhstan; Kuwait; Latvia; Lebanon; Libya; Liechtenstein; Lithuania; Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of; Mali; Malta; Mauritania; Moldova; Mongolia; Montenegro; Morocco; Netherlands; Nigeria; Norway; Oman; Palestinian Territory, Occupied; Poland; Portugal; Qatar; Romania; Russian Federation (Central Asian Russia, Eastern Asian Russia, European Russia); Saudi Arabia; Senegal; Serbia; Sierra Leone; Slovakia; Slovenia; Somalia; Spain (Canary Is. - Vagrant); Sudan; Sweden; Switzerland; Syrian Arab Republic; Tunisia; Turkey; Turkmenistan; Uganda; Ukraine; United Arab Emirates; United Kingdom; Uzbekistan; Western Sahara; Yemen
Afghanistan; Benin; Cameroon; Faroe Islands; Iceland; Japan; Kenya; Korea, Republic of; Luxembourg; Seychelles; Tajikistan
Additional data:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:8250000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):UnknownExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Continuing decline in number of locations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:No
Upper elevation limit (metres):2400
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: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).
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:8000000-17999999Continuing decline of mature individuals:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No
Continuing decline in subpopulations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This species utilises a variety of breeding habitats, preferably situated in areas with a continental climate (many hours of sunshine and low rainfall). In the northern part of its range it occurs mainly in cultivated land, preferring low-intensity, mixed farmland on light soils, with sparsely vegetated spots and scattered or lines of trees or bushes. In forested areas of Fenno-Scandinavia and Russia, it occupies forest margins, clearings and clear fells. In the southern areas of its breeding range it occurs in rugged open mountainous areas with some shrubs up to 2,400 m asl (Hagemeijer and Blair 1997, Madge and Sharpe 2016). Eggs are laid from mid-April until early June. The nest is built by the female, often on the ground in a field of growing crops. The clutch consists of four or five eggs. The chicks hatch after 11–12 days, are tended by both parents and leave the nest after another 12–13 days. Autumn migration usually takes place from mid-August to mid-September (Madge and Sharpe 2016). During the breeding season the species mainly feeds on small invertebrates such as ants, beetles and grasshoppers, both on the ground and in bushes or the canopy of trees. Outside the breeding season it mainly forages on seeds. The species is migratory, wintering in the northern part of sub-Saharan Africa (Madge and Sharpe 2016).
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Unknown
Generation Length (years):3.6
Movement patterns:Full Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The main pressure affecting populations of the species in Europe is the replacement of small-scale mixed farming by large-scale agricultural intensification, including the use of insecticides and herbicides. A reduction in bare patches for foraging and a lack of invertebrate-rich grassland at nesting areas appears to have significant impacts on the species (Menz and Arlettaz 2012). Ongoing conversion of relatively extensively used habitat to crop fields for biofuel is another issue. Other threats include isolation of the remaining populations (increased risk of extinction) as a consequence of habitat fragmentation as well as hunting and trapping of the species during migration (Hagemeijer and Blair 1997, Bernardy 2009).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
EU Birds Directive Annex I. The species is classified as Critically Endangered in the Red Data Book in the Netherlands (Hustings et al. 2004) and Switzerland (Keller 2010) and as Vulnerable in France (UICN France, MNHN, LPO, SEOF and ONCFS 2011). In Germany, Switzerland and Austria small-scale habitat restoration measures have been undertaken (Bernardy 2009).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Implement measures directed to the conservation/establishment of extensively used farmland areas outside protected areas. Compose an international species action plan including protection during migration and on wintering areas. Establish a ban on hunting and trapping of the species. Evaluate effectiveness of conservation measures (Bernardy 2009).

Amended [top]

Amended reason: Map revised. Added a country of occurrence and a Contributor. Edited Population Justification text.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2017. Emberiza hortulana (amended version of 2016 assessment). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T22720916A111136121. . Downloaded on 16 July 2018.
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