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Description: Yellowhammer, (Emberiza citrinella), female, July 1903.

Within living memory, the Yellowhammer has gone from being the most abundant bird of Manx farmland to being completely extinct on the Isle of Man. The decline of this species began in the 1960s and continued until it was lost completely within the last decade. Confusingly, the landscape of the island appears to have changed little, with small fields and an abundance of Manx sod hedges, which Yellowhammer favoured (especially those containing scattered gorse and hawthorns).

Yellowhammer mainly eat the seeds of grasses and cereal crops, but will also catch insects, particularly in the breeding season; in winter they were sustained in stubble fields, eating spilt grain. Improved farming methods, however, have resulted in a change away from winter stubbles towards winter-sown cereals, meaning fields are in-use year-round, reducing foraging areas. Declining numbers of insects are also likely to have played a role in the demise of this once common species. The last sighting in the Isle of Man was of a non-breeding bird on 30th March 2019 on the Calf of Man.

Made into taxidermy mount with one other female and one male Yellowhammer and given the number NH39.

Date found: 1903-07

Taxonomic name: Emberiza citrinella

Collection: Natural History Zoology Collection

ID number: 1954-2051

Subject tags : #MM100COLLECTIONS


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