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Corn Buntings

Why are we funding this package?

Corn Buntings are almost entirely dependent on cropped land. Their numbers and distribution have been declining throughout the UK since the last century. They are now restricted to the East coast in Nairn, Moray, the Buchan Plain to the East Neuk of Fife and on the English Border near Berwick-on-Tweed. There is also an isolated population on the machair of the Uists and associated islands.

The Corn Bunting is a UK Biodiversity Action Plan priority species.

What will this package achieve?

This package highlights Options that will help to maintain and increase the Corn Bunting population in Scotland.

Corn Buntings feed on grain, associated large-seeded grasses and other broad-leaved weeds. Providing these food sources, particularly in the late winter/early spring, is key to improving adult survival rates.

Corn Buntings nest much later than most other farmland birds. Most females do not lay eggs until June, and continue to nest through to September. They can be affected by agricultural operations throughout that period. They nest on or near the ground in dense vegetation.

On the East Coast, most birds nest in cereal crops, but some will nest in hay or silage fields, brassicas or rough grassland. In the Uists, most birds nest away from cultivated ground. Corn Bunting chicks are fed on invertebrates found on rough grassland, cereal field margins, or low input cereal fields.

The key actions that will help Corn Buntings are therefore:

  • Providing a food source, particularly in the late winter/early spring, to improve adult survival rates.
  • On the East Coast, providing winter food needs to be combined with suitable management during the breeding season to increase chick survival.

What you can do

You should choose which of the following Options will help deliver the outcome you have selected.

We suggest the following Options may all be appropriate.

These Options will only help achieve the desired outcome in specific circumstances. If you choose any of these, the application system will ask you to explain how you see this Option helping to achieve the outcome. You can select as many, or as few, Options as you think you will need. You must judge which Options will most effectively deliver the desired outcomes taking account of your circumstances.

These Options will help to achieve the desired outcome in specific circumstances:

Other support available under SRDP

There are other options available under the RDC that can help corn buntings. Several options under the Land Managers' Options scheme could complement and support your proposals. They include:

  • Wild bird seed mix/unharvested crop
  • Retention of winter stubbles
  • Biodiversity cropping on in-bye
  • Management of grass margins and beetlebanks in arable fields
  • Management of conservation headlands

Crofters may find that the Crofting Counties Agricultural Grant Scheme, administered by the Crofters Commission, can provide useful additional support. For example Outdoor Feed Areas may provide an alternative means of delivering winter food supply to corn buntings.