International Single Species Action Plan for the Conservation of the Yellow-breasted Bunting (Emberiza aureola) - Technical Series No. 47


The Yellow-breasted Bunting Emberiza aureola was once regarded as one of the most abundant passerines in Eurasia. Its global population was estimated to be at least several million birds and its breeding range was expanding westward into Europe prior to the 1980s. The decline was firstly detected when breeding birds in Japan started to decrease in the 1990s. A comprehensive study published in 2015 revealed an 84.3 to 94.7% decline of the population in about three decades. It was regarded as globally Least Concern before 2004 but since 2017 it has been listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List. The main threats it faces are uncontrolled hunting of birds during migration passage and winter, mostly for food consumption. Habitat loss or degradation, use of agricultural chemicals, and other pollution factors are also likely to be main causes of decline. This action plan summarizes suggestions of actions to be taken proposed by researchers and conservationists from most of the range countries. Apart from improvement of law enforcement and a higher awareness on the demise of this species and other migratory passerines to the stakeholders of all levels, more studies on its distribution, migration and biology are needed. International cooperation on action implementation and a network of researchers and conservationists will facilitate a quick knowledge and experience transfer to all range countries. Success in conservation of the Yellow-breasted Bunting will benefit more than one single species and other passerine species face similar threats.

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Author(s)Simba Chan
Co-authorsLate Evgeny Syroechkovskiy
Nyambayar Batbayar
Hayama Seiji
Fu Wing Kan Vivian
Yu Yat Tung
Bou Vorsak
Thiri Dae We Aung
Raju Kasambe
Johannes Kamp
Wieland Heim
Published DateNovember 2023
Publication LanguageEnglish
PublisherCMS Secretariat
TypeAction Plan
Technical Series
CMS InstrumentCMS