Home | Trip Reports | Recent Sightings | Blog | Photographs | Phonescoping | Sounds & Sonograms | Sketches | Patches | Butterflies & Dragonflies


 

 Yellowhammer  Emberiza citrinella


Knockentiber - Springside Disused Railway Line, Ayrshire, Scotland  16 May 2010  0921h

Territorial song from scrubby, hawthorn hedgerow in mixed pastoral and arable (barley) farmland.

[File name: yellowhammer0516092145]

    Yellowhammer1

The course of an old railway line between Knockentiber and Springside in Ayrshire provides some good scrubby habitat for Yellowhammers (Emberiza citrinella). While surveying the territorial males there last May, I heard one bird that was singing two song types which were alternated almost one after the other. Most of the birds in this area sing about eight strophes (or deliveries) per minute and stick to one song type for quite long periods, though occasionally dropping the final ‘cheese’ phrase. Listen to this excerpt of a recording below of this bird and you’ll see what I mean. The first strophe I’ve termed the ‘Fast High’ song type/strophe and the second, the ‘Slow Low’ song type/strophe. See the two sonograms below illustrating this.

Another element in the song that is quite difficult to detect in the field with the human ear (and while listening to playback of recordings) is the very short (0.04 secs) and high pitched (up to 8 kHz) element that immediately proceeds the rattle. Its visible on the sonogram but see if you can pick it out in the recording.

Sonogram of Yellowhammer song

 

Knockentiber - Springside Disused Railway Line, Ayrshire, Scotland  16 May 2010  0921h

The ‘Fast High’ strophe is around 1.84 seconds with the first phrase comprised of a rattle of 10-11 syllables spanning 4.22-6.76 kHz and lasting 1.07 secs. The second phrase – just a single element, and the familiar ‘cheese’ of the popular British mnemonic for this species – is around 4.85 kHz and lasting 0.68 secs. (Willow Warbler in the background).

[File name: yelham05160921fasthighstrophe]

    Yellowhammer2

     

Sonogram of Yellowhammer song

 

Knockentiber - Springside Disused Railway Line, Ayrshire, Scotland  16 May 2010  0921h

The ‘Slow Low’ strophe is longer at around 2.11 seconds with usually 12 lower-pitched rattles spanning 3.07-5.04 kHz and lasting 1.37 secs. The cheese phrase is also lower pitched at 4.4 kHz, lasting 0.55 sec. (Willow Warbler in the background).

[File name: yelham05160921slowlowstrophe]

    Yellowhammer3

     

Sonogram of Yellowhammer calls

 

Knockentiber-Springside disused railway line, Ayrshire, Scotland  2 May 2015

Calls from a male in overgrown scrubby hawthorn.

[File name: yellowhammerLS113293ecut]

    Yellowhammer7

     

Sonogram of Yellowhammer calls

 

Knockentiber-Springside disused railway line, Ayrshire, Scotland  1 June 2014

Calls from overgrown scrubby hawthorn, willow and elder.

[File name: yellowhammerLS112033ecut]

    Yellowhammer6

     

Sonogram of Yellowhammer song

 

Teremiski, Bialowieza Forest, Poland  53º 27' 10.1'' N  22º 37' 16.6'' E    28 June 2009, 0900h

Territorial song; this bird regularly followed the usual delivery with an additional, more rarely heard high-pitched 'tseee' note rising to 9.1 kHz.

[File name: yellowhammer280609teremiski]

    Yellowhammer4

     

Sonogram of Yellowhammer song

 

Beesonend Lane, Redbourn, Hertfordshire, England  51° 47' 11.77" N  00° 22' 15.09" W  13 July 2013

Territorial song from lone oak in hedgerow bordering wheat fields.

[File name: yellowhammer111707ecut]

    Yellowhammer5

     

 Sonogram of Yellowhammer song

Knockentiber - Springside Disused Railway Line, Ayrshire, Scotland  Apr 1999

Territorial song from overgrown hawthorn hedgerow, with calls from a more distant bird

 

 

 

 

Sonogram of Yellowhammer song

 

Knockentiber - Springside Disused Railway Line, Ayrshire, Scotland  Apr 1999

Shorter, incomplete song with terminal 'cheese' note omitted, same individual as above

 

 

 

 

Sonogram of Yellowhammer calls

 

Knockentiber - Springside Disused Railway Line, Ayrshire, Scotland  Apr 1999

Calls from overgrown hawthorn hedgerow

 

 

 


A-Z Index  | Search this Website | Links | Ayrshire Bird Report | Ayrshire Winter Bird Race | Scarlet Banded-Barbet | Blog Index


 


  © Fraser Simpson  ·  www.fssbirding.org.uk