AskDefine | Define yellowhammer

The Collaborative Dictionary

Flicker \Flick"er\, n.
The act of wavering or of fluttering; fluctuation; sudden and brief increase of brightness; as, the last flicker of the dying flame. [1913 Webster]
(Zool.) The golden-winged woodpecker (Colaptes aurutus); -- so called from its spring note. Called also yellow-hammer, high-holder, pigeon woodpecker, and yucca. [1913 Webster] The cackle of the flicker among the oaks. --Thoureau. [1913 Webster]
Yellowhammer \Yel"low*ham`mer\, n. [For yellow-ammer, where ammer is fr. AS. amore a kind of bird; akin to G. ammer a yellow-hammer, OHG. amero.] (Zool.) (a) A common European finch (Emberiza citrinella). The color of the male is bright yellow on the breast, neck, and sides of the head, with the back yellow and brown, and the top of the head and the tail quills blackish. Called also yellow bunting, scribbling lark, and writing lark. [Written also yellow-ammer.] (b) The flicker. [Local, U. S.] [1913 Webster]

Word Net



1 large flicker of eastern North America with a red neck and yellow undersurface to wings and tail [syn: yellow-shafted flicker, Colaptes auratus]
2 European bunting the male being bright yellow [syn: yellow bunting, Emberiza citrinella]



  1. A passerine bird, Emberiza citrinella, of Eurasia which is mainly yellow in colour.


For the American woodpecker or Alabama state troops, see Yellowhammer (disambiguation)
The Yellowhammer, Emberiza citrinella, is a passerine bird in the bunting family Emberizidae, which breeds across Europe and much of Asia. The Yellowhammer was introduced to New Zealand in 1862 and is now common and widespread there. It is probably more abundant in New Zealand now than in Europe where is in serious decline, (in the UK the species fell by 54% between 1970 and 2003). In Europe and Asia most birds are resident, but some far northern birds migrate south in winter. It is common in all sorts of open areas with some scrub or trees and form small flocks inwinter .
The Yellowhammer is a robust 15.5-17 cm long bird, with a thick seed-eater's bill. The male has a bright yellow head, yellow underparts, and a heavily streaked brown back. The female is much duller, and more streaked below. The familiar, if somewhat monotonous, song of the cock is often described as A little bit of bread and no cheese.
Its natural diet consists of insects when feeding young, and otherwise seeds. The nest is on the ground. 3-6 eggs are laid, which show the hair-like markings characteristic of those of buntings.
It has been claimed by Karl Czerny, that the Yellowhammer's song was the inspiration for the "fate" motif of the Symphony No. 5 by Ludwig van Beethoven.


It is mostcommonly found on lowland arable and mixed farmland, probably due the greater availability of seeds. It nests in hedges, patches of scrub and ditches, especially if these have a wide grass margin next to it, and a cereal crop next to the margin. Hedges of up to 2 meters are preferred, and they will not nest until it is in full leaf, building the nest next to the hedge if it is built before this. In winter the flocks feed at good seed sites, such as. newly sown fields, over-wintered stubbles.


Seeds of:
Invertebrates mainly, but not exclusively taken through the breeding season:
They are more able to feed on the slower moving invertebrates.


  • Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern
  • RSPB A management guide to birds of lowland farmland


yellowhammer in Bulgarian: Жълта овесарка
yellowhammer in Welsh: Bras Melyn
yellowhammer in Danish: Gulspurv
yellowhammer in German: Goldammer
yellowhammer in Spanish: Emberiza citrinella
yellowhammer in Esperanto: Flava emberizo
yellowhammer in French: Bruant jaune
yellowhammer in Scottish Gaelic: Buidheag (eun)
yellowhammer in Galician: Escribenta amarela
yellowhammer in Italian: Emberiza citrinella
yellowhammer in Luxembourgish: Gielemännchen (Villchen)
yellowhammer in Lithuanian: Geltonoji starta
yellowhammer in Hungarian: Citromsármány
yellowhammer in Dutch: Geelgors
yellowhammer in Dutch Low Saxon: Gele gis
yellowhammer in Japanese: キアオジ
yellowhammer in Norwegian: Gulspurv
yellowhammer in Polish: Trznadel
yellowhammer in Slovak: Strnádka žltá
yellowhammer in Finnish: Keltasirkku
yellowhammer in Swedish: Gulsparv
yellowhammer in Turkish: Sarı kiraz kuşu
yellowhammer in Ukrainian: Звичайна вівсянка
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