Black-headed Buntings, Emberiza melanocephala


Black-headed BuntingsThe Black-headed Bunting, Emberiza melanocephala, is a passerine bird in the bunting family Emberizidae, a group now separated by most modern authors from the finches, Fringillidae.

Distribution / Breeding:

It breeds in southeast Europe east to Iran. It is migratory, wintering in India. It is a rare but regular wanderer to western Europe.

Black-headed Bunting breeds in open scrubby areas including agricultural land. It lays 4-6 eggs in a nest in a tree or bush. Its natural food consists of insects when feeding young, and otherwise seeds.


The Black-headed Bunting measures 17cm in length. It is larger than Reed Bunting, and long-tailed. The breeding male has bright yellow underparts, chestnut upperparts and a black hood.

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 the closely related Red-headed Bunting.

Call / Song:

The call is described as a soft zrit, and the song is a jerky zrit..zrit…zrit…srut..srut…srut.

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