Yellowhammers are resident or partially migratory in all of Europe except the extreme north and south, and in west and central Siberia.
    In Britain Yellowhammers are sedentary and mostly confined to lowland areas throughout. There is little difference beween their winter and breeding season distributions. Their range has contracted, by 21% in summer between the 1968-72 Breeding Atlas and Bird Atlas 2007-11 and by 9% in winter between the 1981-84 Winter Atlas and Bird Atlas 2007-11. The losses have mainly occurred on the fringes of upland areas, and have been accompanied by even greater reductions in population numbers, which declined by 55% between 1970 and 2010. A number of factors are believed to have contributed to the declines, mostly related to changes in agricultural practices such as the move to autumn sowing of cereals leading to loss of winter stubble.
    In Wiltshire Yellowhammers were very common in the 19th and through most of the 20th centuries. There was a period in the 1980s and 1990s when decreases were recorded in some areas, but overall numbers have since remained stable. Birds of Wiltshire recorded them in 792 tetrads, with breeding in 574; WTA2 recorded them in 729 tetrads with breeding in 432.

The following references are used throughout these species accounts, in the abbreviated form given in quotation marks:
1968-72 Breeding Atlas” – Sharrack, J.T.R. 1976:  The Atlas of Breeding Birds in Britain and Ireland. T. & A. Poyser
1981-84 Winter Atlas” – Lack, P.C. 1986:  The Atlas of Wintering Birds in Britain and Ireland. T. & A. Poyser
1988-91 Breeding Atlas” – Gibbons, D.W., Reid, J.B. & Chapman, R.A. 1993: The New Atlas of Breeding Birds in Britain and Ireland 1988-91. T. & A. Poyser
Birds of Wiltshire” – Ferguson-Lees, I.J. et al. 2007 : Birds of Wiltshire, published by the tetrad atlas group of the Wiltshire Ornithological Society after mapping fieldwork 1995-2000. Wiltshire Ornithological Society.
Bird Atlas 2007-2011” – Balmer, D.E., Gillings, S., Caffrey, B.J., Swann, R.L., Downie, I.S. and Fuller, R.J. 2013: Bird Atlas 2007-2011: the Breeding and Wintering Birds of Britain and Ireland
WTA2” – ("Wiltshire Tetrad Atlas 2 ") the present electronic publication, bringing together the Wiltshire data from “Birds of Wiltshire” and “Bird Atlas 2007-11”, together with data from further fieldwork carried out in 2011 and 2012.
"Hobby" - the annual bird report of the Wiltshire Ornithological Society.