Since the expansion of the Rustic Bunting (Emberiza rustica) westwards in northern Europe during the 19th and 20th centuries, declines have been reported in Fennoscandia. The Norwegian population was 100-500 breeding pairs in 1994. We carried out censuses to detect Rustic Buntings in Norway during 2008-12, and compared these results with previous records to evaluate recent population changes. Transect censuses made along 15 km of optimal habitat (swamp forest along rivers) yielded 18 territories during 1972-78, but in 2008 we found only 5 territories, and none since 2011. We also detected Rustic Buntings in 21 of 74 previously-occupied sites (one or more records during 1963-2007). During the study period 2008-12, we recorded Rustic Buntings in 41 sites, with a maximum of 47 territories in 2008. However, from 2008 to 2012 we detected a decline of 82% (yearly decline of 34% ± 9%; 95% CI). Local extinctions occurred in at least 31 sites. The current known population size is 13 territories in 9 sites, and the true population size may be only slightly larger. About half of all territories were associated with beaver dams, but the rate of decline during 2008-12 did not depend on dams. Extinctions could be attributed to habitat loss or change in 9/53 sites (1 logging, 1 cultivation, and 7 loss of a beaver dam). We suggest that the population decline of Norwegian Rustic Buntings is due to factors operating during migration or in wintering areas.