The yellowhammer is found quite frequently in Ötztal. It feels especially at home in varied cultivated landscapes. It needs meadows, shrub-rich forest edges, hedges and copses in its breeding territory. In many parts of Central Europe, populations have strongly declined. The reason for this can be found in its habitat being cut back. The yellowhammer builds its nest near the ground in dense shrubbery or in small trees.
Yellowhammers are slim birds with a relatively long tail. In size comparison, they are clearly larger than sparrows. Once discovered in dense shrubbery, the male is easily identified by its strikingly yellow head and yellow underbelly. It truly lives up to its Latin name of „citrinella“. Females and chicks are less yellow and have dark stripes on the head and throat.
The melancholic song of the yellowhammer is quite catchy. The male does his singing on a song post. This can be the highest branches of a bush, but also a fencepost. A simple verse to easily remember the song by is known everywhere: “A little bit of bread and no cheese” or “pretty pretty creature”. Whereby the bird uses a series of equally short, high tones, only the last tone of the verse is higher and more prolonged.
The yellowhammer is threatened by increasing intensification of land use. The bird requires sufficient nest hideouts near the ground. Well structured, small-area cultivated landscapes with shrubbery and hedges by waysides are essential to the survival of this attractive singer. Text: Kathrin Amprosi