|E. bruniceps |
Mangaon, Maharashtra, India
It breeds in central Asia. It is migratory, wintering in India and Bangladesh. Its status in western Europe, where it is a potential vagrant, is confused by escapes, especially as this species is more commonly recorded than the closely related black-headed bunting, despite the latter having a more westerly breeding range. Reports in Britain have declined dramatically over recent years, coinciding with the decline in Asiatic imports for the cage-bird trade.
The red-headed bunting breeds in open scrubby areas including agricultural land. It lays three to five eggs in a nest in a tree or bush. Its natural food consists of seeds, or when feeding young, insects.
This bird is 17 cm long, larger than reed bunting, and long-tailed. The breeding male has bright yellow underparts, green upperparts and a brownish-red face and breast.
The female is a washed-out version of the male, with paler underparts, a grey-brown back and a greyish head. The juvenile is similar, and both can be difficult to separate from the corresponding plumages of black-headed bunting.
The song, given from a high perch, is a jerky sweet-sweet-churri-churri-churri.
Eggs of Emberiza bruniceps MHNT