National Cirl Bunting surveys
The Cirl Bunting Emberiza cirlus is a scarce and localised breeder in the UK, and is on the red list of the UK Birds of Conservation Concern. In 1995, the Cirl Bunting was included in the list of priority species in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP), and the RSPB and English Nature (now Natural England) launched a species recovery project.
- To produce an accurate and precise population estimate of Cirl Buntings in the UK and to describe the current distribution.
- To investigate the influence of agri-environment scheme measures (through CSS, ELS and HLS) and other habitats on the fine-scale breeding distributions of cirl buntings and a suite of priority farmland birds.
Key dates so far
- Full surveys were carried out from 1989 to 1993 and sample surveys from 1994 to 1997. Since 1997, there has been another sample survey in 2002 and full surveys in 1998, 2003 and 2009.
Work planned or underway
The 2009 survey was completed and the survey results published (in 2010). The habitat and AE analysis was completed and the resulting paper has now been published (2013).
The 2009 survey recorded an estimated 862 (785-975) territories. Nearly all of these were located in south Devon. Of the 330 tetrads surveyed, 136 were occupied; of which 133 were in Devon, and three in Cornwall. Between 2003 and 2009, the population estimate increased by 24% and the number of occupied tetrads by 15%. However, there is little evidence to suggest that the species is naturally recolonising areas beyond its core range in south Devon.
Who to contact
Senior Conservation Scientist
Natural England, through Action for Birds in England