The Kennedy Wild Bird Food Guide to the Yellowhammer

The yellowhammer bird is a beautiful bunting bird that can be identified by its unique yellow chest. In this A-Z bird guide, we take a look at some of the most interesting yellowhammer bird facts, including where you can find them, what to feed a yellowhammer and the facts around the bird’s Red List status. Take a look.

What does a yellowhammer look like?

This yellow bunting bird is distinctively yellow from its head down, including most of its underparts. However, female yellowhammers are much paler than the male yellowhammer. All yellowhammers have a brown back with darker brown patches and streaks.

Take a look at our yellowhammer bird images below to see if you can identify one!

yellowhammer bird yellow hammer bird images

Identifying the yellowhammer song

Now you know what the yellowhammer looks like, it’s time to identify its song! 

If you think you’ve heard this beautiful bird singing away in your garden, or you’d like to familiarise yourself with the yellowhammer’s song so you can listen out for it next time, here’s what it sounds like.

Fun fact: The yellowhammer’s stunning song even inspired works by Beethoven!

What does the yellowhammer eat?

Yellowhammers are known to eat an abundance of foods, including both seeds and insects, depending on the time of year. They particularly love our nutritional range of mealworms for birds during the breeding season. Most birds love insects, so check out our how to use mealworms as bird food guide if you’re new to feeding them mealworms.

The yellowhammer’s habitat and behaviour

Yellowhammers are found in many different parts of the UK, but they are noticeably absent in the North West and upland areas like the highlands of Scotland. You’ll most likely find them darting about bushes and hedgerows on low lying ground, foraging for food, but they are also known to visit our gardens and bird feeders!

Nesting

Yellowhammers lay between 3-5 eggs in their nest when breeding commences in April and May. The eggs are incubated for 12-14 days and the broods will fledge 11-13 days after hatching. 

Red List status

Sadly, in the UK, the annual survival rate for adult yellowhammers is just 54%. This decreases to 53% for juvenile yellowhammers in their first year and has resulted in a declining population. It is estimated that there are just 700,000 breeding territories of yellowhammer in the UK. They are also vulnerable to predators like the sparrowhawk and lesser spotted eagle, which has also resulted in their Red List status. 

However, it’s Red List status is mostly down to decreasing farmland areas and a lack of seeds available during the winter months. If you’d like to help the yellowhammers in your area, providing them with food sources all year round could help.

Don’t forget to log any yellowhammer sightings on our Birdspotter map!