Bunting (bird)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Cirl bunting cropped.jpg
Cirl bunting (Emberiza cirlus)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Superfamily: Emberizoidea
Family: Emberizidae
Vigors, 1831
Genus: Emberiza
Linnaeus, 1758

44, see text

  • Onychospina Bonaparte, 1853
  • Onychospiza Rey, 1872 (unjustified emendation)

The buntings are a group of Old World passerine birds forming the genus Emberiza, the only genus in the family Emberizidae. They are seed-eating birds with stubby, conical bills.


The family Emberizidae was formerly much larger and included the species now placed in the Passerellidae (New World sparrows) and Calcariidae (longspurs and snow buntings). Molecular phylogenetic studies found that the large family consisted of distinct clades that were better treated as separate families.[1][2]

The genus Emberiza is now the only genus placed in the family Emberizidae.[3] The genus was introduced by the Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus in 1758 in the tenth edition of his Systema Naturae.[4] The type species was subsequently designated as the yellowhammer (Emberiza citrinella).[5] The genus name Emberiza is from Old German Embritz, a bunting.[6] The origin of the English "bunting" is unknown.[7]

A 2008 genetic study found that three emberizid species that were placed in their own monotypic genera clustered within the Emberiza. These were the crested bunting (Melophus lathami), the slaty bunting (Latouchiornis siemsseni), and the corn bunting (Miliaria calandra).[8] All three species are now included in the genus Emberiza.[3]

A large DNA-based study of the passerines published in 2019 found that the buntings are most closely related to the longspurs and snow buntings in the family Calcariidae.[9]

Ornithologists Edward Dickinson and Leslie Christidis in the fourth edition of the Howard and Moore Complete Checklist of the Birds of the World chose to split up Emberiza and recognise the genera Fringillaria, Melophus, Granativora, Emberiza, and Schoeniclus.[10] Their example has not been followed by the online version of the Handbook of the Birds of the World[11] nor by Frank Gill and David Donsker in the list of world birds that they maintain on behalf of the International Ornithologists' Union.[3] The British Ornithologists' Union has argued that splitting the genus provides little benefit and destabilizes the nomenclature.[12]

Species in the New World genus Passerina include the word "bunting" in their common names, but are now classed in the family Cardinalidae.[13]

The family is divided into four major clades. The species in Clade I are mainly African while those in Clades II to IV are Palearctic:[14]

Clade I

Cabanis's buntingEmberiza cabanis

Golden-breasted buntingEmberiza faviventris

Somali buntingEmberiza polioplura

Cape buntingEmberiza capensis

Lark-like buntingEmberiza impetuani

Socotra buntingEmberiza socotrana

Gosling's buntingEmberiza goslingi

Cinnamon-breasted buntingEmberiza tahapisi

Striolated buntingEmberiza striolata

House buntingEmberiza sahari

Clade II

Yellow-throated buntingEmberiza elegans

Slaty buntingEmberiza siemsseni

Japanese reed buntingEmberiza yessonsis

Common reed buntingEmberiza schoenicus

Pallas's buntingEmberiza pallasi

Yellow-browed buntingEmberiza chrysophrys

Grey buntingEmberiza variabilis

Tristram's buntingEmberiza tristrami

Chestnut buntingEmberiza rutila

Yellow-breasted buntingEmberiza aureola

Little buntingEmberiza pusilla

Rustic buntingEmberiza rustica

Yellow buntingEmberiza sulphurata

Black-faced buntingEmberiza spodocephala

Clade III

Crested buntingEmberiza lathami

Black-headed buntingEmberiza melanocephala

Red-headed buntingEmberiza bruniceps

Clade IV

Corn buntingEmberiza calandra

Chestnut-eared buntingEmberiza fucata

Tibetan buntingEmberiza koslowi

Jankowski's buntingEmberiza jankowskii

Meadow buntingEmberiza cioides

Rock buntingEmberiza cia

Godlewski's buntingEmberiza godlewskii

Cirl buntingEmberiza cirlus

White-capped buntingEmberiza stewarti

Pine buntingEmberiza leucocephalos

YellowhammerEmberiza citrinella

Grey-necked buntingEmberiza buchani

Cinereous buntingEmberiza cineracea

Cretzschmar's buntingEmberiza caesia

Ortolan buntingEmberiza hortulana

The above cladogram is based on a study published in 2021. The phylogenetic relationships of two African species, the brown-rumped bunting (Emberiza affinis) and Vincent's bunting (Emberiza vincenti), were not determined in the study.[14]

List of species[edit]

The genus contains 44 species.[3]

An extinct species has been described:[15]


  1. ^ Barker, F.K.; Burns, K.J.; Klicka, J.; Lanyon, S.M.; Lovette, I.J. (2013). "Going to extremes: contrasting rates of diversification in a recent radiation of New World passerine birds". Systematic Biology. 62 (2): 298–320. doi:10.1093/sysbio/sys094. PMID 23229025.
  2. ^ Barker, F.K.; Burns, K.J.; Klicka, J.; Lanyon, S.M.; Lovette, I.J. (2015). "New insights into New World biogeography: An integrated view from the phylogeny of blackbirds, cardinals, sparrows, tanagers, warblers, and allies". Auk. 132 (2): 333–346. doi:10.1642/AUK-14-110.1.
  3. ^ a b c d Gill, Frank; Donsker, David, eds. (2018). "Buntings". World Bird List Version 8.1. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 2 May 2018.
  4. ^ Linnaeus, Carl (1758). Systema Naturae per regna tria naturae, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis (in Latin). Volume 1 (10th ed.). Holmiae:Laurentii Salvii. p. 176. |volume= has extra text (help)
  5. ^ Paynter, Raymond A. Jr, ed. (1970). Check-list of Birds of the World. Volume 13. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Museum of Comparative Zoology. p. 5. |volume= has extra text (help)
  6. ^ Jobling, James A. (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London, United Kingdom: Christopher Helm. p. 145. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.
  7. ^ "Bunting". Oxford English Dictionary (Online ed.). Oxford University Press. (Subscription or participating institution membership required.)
  8. ^ Alström, P.; Olsson, U.; Lei, F.; Wang, H.; Gao, W.; Sundberg, P. (2008). "Phylogeny and classification of the Old World Emberizini (Aves, Passeriformes)". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 47 (3): 960–973. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2007.12.007. PMID 18411062.
  9. ^ Oliveros, C.H.; et al. (2019). "Earth history and the passerine superradiation". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 116 (16): 7916–7925. doi:10.1073/pnas.1813206116. PMC 6475423. PMID 30936315.
  10. ^ Dickinson, E.C.; Christidis, L., eds. (2014). The Howard & Moore Complete Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 2: Passerines (4th ed.). Eastbourne, UK: Aves Press. pp. 353–357. ISBN 978-0-9568611-2-2. |volume= has extra text (help)
  11. ^ del Hoyo, Joseph (ed.). "Taxonomic structure and notes: Emberizidae". Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions. Retrieved 25 June 2019.
  12. ^ Sangster, G.; et al. (2016). "Taxonomic recommendations for Western Palearctic birds: 11th report". Ibis. 158 (1): 206–212. doi:10.1111/ibi.12322.
  13. ^ Gill, Frank; Donsker, David, eds. (2019). "Cardinals, grosbeaks and (tanager) allies". World Bird List Version 9.2. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  14. ^ a b Cai, T.; Wu, G.; Sun, L.; Zhang, Y.; Peng, Z.; Guo, Y.; Liu, X.; Pan, T.; Chang, J.; Sun, Z.; Zhang, B. (2021). "Biogeography and diversification of Old World buntings (Aves: Emberizidae): radiation in open habitats". Journal of Avian Biology. 52 (6). doi:10.1111/jav.02672. S2CID 236608560.
  15. ^ Rando, J. C.; Lopez, M.; Segui, B. (1999). "A new species of extinct flightless passerine" (PDF). The Condor. 101 (1): 1–13. doi:10.2307/1370440. JSTOR 1370440.

Further reading[edit]

Buntings and Sparrows - A Guide to the Buntings and North American Sparrows by Urban Olsson and Jon Curson, illustrated by Clive Byers (1995) ISBN 1-873403-19-4

External links[edit]