Reed Bunting – 2003-07 breeding

Emberiza schoeniclus – BRAS Y CYRS – Breeding resident

Comparison with previous atlas:

1984-882003-07
Breeding confirmed2722
Breeding probable54101
Breeding possible1915
No of tetrads occupied100 (of 478)138 (of 490)
Percentage of tetrads20.9%28.2%

The Reed Bunting is a largely inconspicuous bird with streaky black brown and off white plumage and white outer tail feathers. Breeding males have a striking black head and bib and broad white collar, females lack these. The preferred habitat is marsh, fen and boggy areas, in which they place their nests low down among rank vegetation.

It was estimated that about 500 pairs were nesting in Pembrokeshire at the time of the 1984-88 survey. Because this was based on experience of the species within its specialised distribution, it was thought to be a realistic assessment. The survey of 2003-07 found there had been a 38% spread in distribution, which if added to the earlier estimate suggests the population in the county had reached about 690 pairs. The introduction of oilseed rape as a crop has probably been the main factor affecting the increase in Reed Bunting distribution, permitting them to expand out of wet areas.

Graham Rees. Pembrokeshire County Bird Recorder 1981-2007

Records extracted from the Pembrokeshire Bird Reports which may contain more detail than shown here

More about the Reed Bunting in Pembrokeshire

Reed Bunting – 1994

Emberiza schoeniclus – BRAS Y CYRS – Breeding resident

1984-88
Breeding confirmed27
Breeding probable54
Breeding possible19
No of tetrads occupied100 (of 478)
Percentage of tetrads20.9%

Both Mathew (1894) and Lockley et al. (1949) regarded the Reed Bunting as a scarce resident thinly scattered about boggy places.

They are still locally distributed about the wetter parts of Pembrokeshire during the breeding season (see map), but were also found breeding in dry farmland during the 1970s, though none were reported in such places during the Breeding Birds Survey of 1984-1988. From familiarity with most of the known breeding sites the total population can be estimated at about 500 pairs. Reed Buntings bred at Skokholm in 1960 and in 1967, increasing to five pairs in 1977, but two in 1980 were the last to nest. They first nested at Skomer in 1961, the population rising to 17 pairs in 1977, but in more recent years there have only been up to four pairs.

They are more widespread outside the breeding season, often being found among mixed finch flocks, particularly at or near the coast. Up to 100 have gathered at Plumston Mountain in January and February and almost as many have joined mixed finch flocks in unharvested flax during the last two winters.

Donovan J.W. & Rees G.H, 1994, Birds of Pembrokeshire

More about the Reed Bunting in Pembrokeshire

Reed Bunting – 1980s winter

Emberiza schoeniclus – BRAS Y CYRS – Breeding resident

The BTO winter atlas showed that Reed Buntings were present in most 10km squares during the winters of 1981-82, 1982-82 and 1983-84.

The darker the colour, the higher the relative total count for each 10km square.  The darkest blue represents over 20 birds.

Found within mixed finch flocks to a varying degree during wintertime.

Graham Rees. Pembrokeshire County Bird Recorder 1981-2007

More about the Reed Bunting in Pembrokeshire

Reed Bunting – 1894

Emberiza schoeniclus – Resident, scarce.

A few on the Cleddy, beneath Stone Hall, where we have found the nest. Also to be met with on the furze on bogs. We one day shot a very pretty fawn-coloured variety on Brimaston Mountain. Mr. Dix thought this species “by no means common,” adding, “a few are seen by the rivers in suitable localities.” This is rather a solitary bird, one we never remember to have seen in flocks.

Mathew M.A. 1894, Birds of Pembrokeshire and its Islands

More about the Reed Bunting in Pembrokeshire

Reed Bunting

Emberiza schoeniclus – BRAS Y CYRS – Breeding resident

Reed Bunting – 2003-07 breeding

Emberiza schoeniclus – BRAS Y CYRS – Breeding resident Comparison with previous atlas: 1984-88 2003-07 Breeding confirmed 27 22 Breeding probable 54 101 Breeding possible 19 15 No of tetrads occupied 100 (of 478) 138 (of 490) Percentage of tetrads 20.9% 28.2% The Reed Bunting is a largely inconspicuous bird with streaky black brown and […]

Reed Bunting – 1994

Emberiza schoeniclus – BRAS Y CYRS – Breeding resident 1984-88 Breeding confirmed 27 Breeding probable 54 Breeding possible 19 No of tetrads occupied 100 (of 478) Percentage of tetrads 20.9% Both Mathew (1894) and Lockley et al. (1949) regarded the Reed Bunting as a scarce resident thinly scattered about boggy places. They are still locally distributed about […]

Reed Bunting – 1980s winter

Emberiza schoeniclus – BRAS Y CYRS – Breeding resident The BTO winter atlas showed that Reed Buntings were present in most 10km squares during the winters of 1981-82, 1982-82 and 1983-84. The darker the colour, the higher the relative total count for each 10km square.  The darkest blue represents over 20 birds. Found within mixed finch flocks […]

Reed Bunting – 1949

Species account from the Birds of Pembrokeshire, 1949, by Lockley, Ingram and Salmon.

Reed Bunting – 1894

Species account from the 1894 ‘Birds of Pembrokeshire and its Islands’ by Rev M A Mathew