This bird is similar in size to a Reed Bunting, but longer-billed. The breeding male has bright yellow underparts with black flank streaks, brown upperparts, black face and throat bar, and a pink lower mandible.
The female has a heavily streaked grey-brown back, and less intensely yellow underparts. She has a whitish face with dark crown, eye and cheek stripes. The juvenile is similar, but the background colour of the underparts and face is buff.
The call is a distinctive zick, and the song is a clear tru-tru, tri-tri.
The Yellow-breasted Bunting breeds in open scrubby areas, often near water, and is present in Siberia. It lays 4-6 eggs in a nest on the ground. Its food consists of insects when feeding young, and otherwise seeds.
It was formerly classified as a Near Threatened species by the IUCN. But new research has shown it to be rarer than it was believed. Consequently, it was uplisted to Vulnerable status in 2008. In 2013, its assessment changed to Endangered.
- BirdLife International (2013). "Emberiza aureola". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
- BLI (2004)[full citation needed]
- BirdLife International (BLI) (2008): [2008 IUCN Redlist status changes]. Retrieved 2008-May-23.
- OBC 24 photographs (see pulldown menu at page bottom)