Following recent updates proposed by BirdLife International and further updates across Europe gathered in the context of a continent-wide study of the migration strategy of the species, we propose here an update of national population sizes and associated recent trends of the Ortolan Bunting (Emberiza hortulana). Previous estimates for the period 1999-2002 reported 5,200,000 to 16,000,000 breeding pairs, for an area extending east to European Russia, and south to the Caucasus and Turkey. The countries holding the largest populations were Turkey (3-10 million pairs) and Russia (1.5-5.0 million pairs). The updated results give approximately 3,319,000 to 7,057,000 pairs in Europe (for the period 2012-2014), representing a c. 50% decrease in numbers over the last decade. This decrease is partly due to overestimates proposed in previous reports for the key country, Turkey, which is now considered to support only 500,000 to 1,000,000 pairs. Russia still holds 2.0-4.3 million pairs, although with an estimated decline of c.15-30% since 2000. Overall, within the 39 European countries assessed here, recent decadal trends (on average 2000-2012) in population size are reported as unknown in 15 countries, increasing in 2 countries (Germany and Serbia), stable or fluctuating in 6 countries, and decreasing in 16 countries including recent extinctions in Belgium, Hungary, Slovakia and the Netherlands. Overall, declining populations are mostly located in northern Europe, and fourteen of the 15 northern European countries with a known national trend have declining breeding populations, suggesting that northern breeders are of particular conservation concern.
Birdlife Finland , 2016. Vol. 93, no 3, 186-196 p.