The Ortolan Bunting (Emberiza hortulana) is an endangered species of open farmland landscapes. The Finnish population has declined more than 90 % during the last decades. Factors underlying the decline are largely unknown but at least habitat deterioration at the breeding, stop-over and wintering grounds play are most likely important drivers of the decline. In addition, pouching of the Ortolan in southern parts of Europe is still continuing.
The Finnish Ortolan Buntings migrate to sub-Saharan Africa via south-western Europe, but the exact migration routes and locations of the wintering grounds are mostly unknown.
A study on Ortolan's migration was started in Finland in 2013 and the project will continue at least until 2016. The main methods used are colour-ringing, light-level loggers, stable isotopes and genetics. The study project is part of a pan-European Ortolan research project that aims to reveal the migration routes and wintering grounds of the European Ortolan Bunting populations and finally stop the decline of this endangered jewel of farmland.
Leader of the project is Markus Piha (markus.piha(at)helsinki.fi)