The descriptive text, below the map, is from the Cornish Red Data Book (2009). The map on this web page depicts the organisms distribution and shows the records made pre-2000 and those made since.
Range & Status
Palearctic; in Britain and Ireland 156,000 breeding pairs, but decreasing; some 1,800,000 in winter.
Cornwall: formerly quite widespread as a breeding species but has declined markedly since the last war, with less than 20 pairs in the 1990s (Bodmin Moor and The Lizard); there had been 70 pairs on Bodmin Moor alone in 1984. Considerable numbers winter in Cornwall (peak totals some 15,000 in mid-winter, with many more in cold weather). Isles of Scilly: passage migrant and winter visitor, with influxes during cold spells.
Habitat & Ecology
Breeds by moorland bogs and damp grassland. In winter, flocks gather on moorland fields, reservoir edges and estuaries.
National decline of breeding numbers over southern England has been attributed to change from spring to autumn tillage; in Cornwall loss of damp moorland, especially through creation of reservoirs, has been a major factor.
Most sites are SSSI. Protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.Listed (long list) as a globally threatened/declining species (BSGR, 1995).
I.J. Bennallick, S. Board, C.N. French, P.A. Gainey, C. Neil, R. Parslow, A. Spalding and P.E. Tompsett. eds. 2009. Red Data Book for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. 2nd Edition.Croceago Press.
The Cornish Red Data Book Project was led by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Federation for Biological Recorders (CISFBR). The full text and species accounts (minus the maps) are available on the CISFBR website.