Worcestershire Record No. 26 April 2009 p. 46


Steve Davies

Corn Buntings are associated with agricultural land in the UK showing a preference for arable land holding cereal crops, grassland and set-aside on flat prairie type landscapes (Brown & Grice 2005 ). Studies have shown that the males sing from prominent songposts in these habitats (Tryjanowski 2001), important for attracting numerous females in their polygamous mating system, with as many as an incredible 18 females paired with a single male being recorded (Brown & Grice 2005).

I have observed much competition between rival males for prominent songposts at my study site at Wick. During territory mapping I noted the song post type used and its location. Songpost height was measured on completion of territory mapping walks and where individuals were singing from hedgerows and trees, their position in the foliage was noted. The data analysed in this report cover the breeding seasons in 2007 & 2008.

Songpost preferences

A total of 54 song registrations were recorded during mapping. Songpost types used by territorial male Corn Buntings during territory mapping are shown in Fig.1.





Fig.1.Songpost types used by territorial male Corn Buntings.

Where trees or hedgerows were used as song posts, singing birds were always perched at the extremities of the foliage and were easily visible to the observer. While Corn Buntings are known to sing while perched on the ground (Tryjanowski 2001), this behaviour was never observed during territory mapping or on further subsequent visits to Wick.

Heights of songposts used by territorial male Corn Buntings

Heights of songposts used by territorial male Corn Buntings are shown in Fig.2.





Fig.2.Heights of songposts used by territorial male Corn Buntings


The sample size is obviously too small to make any significant analysis of songpost preference of territorial male Corn Buntings. However, it does give the reader an idea of the most likely places to look when you are “tuned- in” to the song of this species. The songpost preferences listed above may be considered, in my limited experience, to be pretty general for Corn Buntings.


BROWN, P.,GRICE, A 2005.Birds in England.T & A.D.Poyser, London, UK
TRYJANOWSKI, P.2001.Song sites of buntings Emberiza calandra, E.hortulana and Millaria calandra in farmland microhabitat differences. In: Bunting Studies in Europe Eds.Tryjanowski, P., Osiejuk,T.S., Kupczyk,M.Bogucki Wyd, Nauk, Poznan, Poland


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