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Last updated on April 20, 2014 at 19:30 EDT

Yellowhammer

The Yellowhammer, Emberiza citrinella, is a passerine bird in the bunting family Emberizidae. It breeds across Europe and much of Asia. It is also common in New Zealand where it was introduced in 1862. Most European and Asian birds are resident, but some northern birds will migrate further south. In winter they gather together to form small flocks.

The Yellowhammer is 6.1 to 6.7 inches long. It has a thick seed-eater’s bill. The male has a bright yellow head, yellow under parts, and a heavily streaked brown back. The female is much duller, and more streaked below. Its natural diet consists of insects when feeding their young, and otherwise seeds. They nest on the ground and the female lays 3 to 6 eggs.

The unrelated Yellow-shafted Flicker is also known as the Yellowhammer in Alabama, the state bird. The Yellowhammer has been claimed to be the inspiration for Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5.

Yellowhammer