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Range DescriptionEmberiza aureola breeds across the northern Palaearctic from Finland, Belarus and Ukraine in the west, through Kazakhstan, China and Mongolia, to far eastern Russia, Korea and northern Japan. In the autumn, birds stop-over in large numbers to moult in the Yangtze Valley, China before continuing on to their winter quarters. It winters throughout a relatively small area in southern and south-east Asia which includes eastern Nepal, north-east India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, southern China, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Thailand1. It was formerly one of the most abundant breeding passerines across vast swathes of Siberia, but, although it remains common in some regions17,19, and although there have been no systematic surveys, a severe decline has been noted in most breeding areas and it has completely disappeared from parts of its former breeding range over the last twenty years. No birds have bred in Finland in the last three years and its range has contracted northwards by 300 km in Kazakhstan over the last 15 years; it has declined rapidly in Russia both in the Moscow and Baikal Regions, and severe declines have also recently been noted in Hokkaido, Japan and Mongolia2,7,9,13,14. It no longer occurs as "swarms" at migration watch-points such as Beidaihe, China, and although a range-wide survey is required, numbers at wintering sites throughout its range have also shown rapid declines over the last twenty years2,4,5,6,8,9,18,20.