Yellowhammer. Photo: Alan Burfitt


Last updated: 21 February 2011

The yellowhammer is called Melyn yr Eithin in Welsh meaning yellow bird of the gorse.

The Welsh yellowhammer population fell by 30% between 1994 and 2000 and the birds continue to struggle as habitat disappears and farmland no longer provides the seeds that the birds once thrived on - especially on all-grass farms.

It is now a Red List species here in the UK but despite that, they are resident here so you can see them all year long and not just in summer.

Yellowhammers are insect and seed eating birds. Weedy stubble fields following harvests of corn and wheat, which supply an abundance of their winter sustenance, have been replaced by pasture.

In sunshine, they often stand out being bright canary yellow, but the same yellow can be quite a good camouflage against young green foliage.

Yellowhammers are fairly widespread throughout Wales, with the Dyfi Valley, Mawddach valley, Lleyn Peninsular, Pembrokeshire, Gower and Denbighshire all being key areas.

If you wish to attract them to your garden, the RSPB suggests you try mixed or table seed containing a high proportion of cereals such as barley, wheat and oats, mixed with sunflower seed and millet.

But, yellowhammers won't feed from a bird table or hanging feeder, so spread the seed on the ground, somewhere with a hedge, shrub or tree nearby as they don't like feeding in the open.

Weatherman walks

Derek Brockway

Have a go

Try one of the walks from Derek's latest walking series on BBC One Wales.


Toads by Brian Stone

In your garden

Find out about the wildlife you can find on your doorstep.

Weird wildlife

A fin whale

Wildlife photos

A gallery featuring rare and unusual wildlife sightings in Wales.

Wildlife map of Wales

BBC Wales Nature map

Explore Wales

Zoom in and discover wildlife in your area with our interactive map.

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.