House Buntings



The House Bunting Emberiza sahari is a passerine bird in the bunting family Emberizidae, a group now separated by most modern authors from the finches, Fringillidae.

In Morocco, the species is traditionally regarded as sacred, and has become very tame, freely entering and feeding inside houses, shops and mosques.[3]

Distribution / Breeding:

It is a resident breeder of dry country from northwestern Africa, from Morocco south to Mali and east to Chad.[1] The House Bunting breeds around human habitation, laying 2-4 eggs in a nest in a hole in a wall or building. Its natural food consists of insects when feeding young, and otherwise seeds.


It is 14cm long, similar in size to the Striolated Bunting and smaller than the Rock Bunting. The breeding male has a sandy orange-brown body, and a grey head slightly dark-streaked but without the white supercilium (line above eye) that Striolated Bunting has. The female's head has a brown tint to the grey, and more diffused streaking.

The House Bunting has recently been split from the closely related Striolated Bunting,[2] of which it used to be treated as a subspecies Emberiza striolata sahari. Striolated Bunting differs in having a stronger facial striping and a paler belly than House Bunting.[1]

House Bunting

Breeding / Nesting:

The incubation period of the clutch of 3 eggs is noted as 12-14 days.[1]

Call / Song:

The song, given from a perch, is similar, but weaker than, that of the Chaffinch.


  1. Byers, C., Olsson, U., and Curson, J. (1995). Buntings and Sparrows. Pica Press ISBN 1-873403-19-4.
  2. Collinson, M. (2006). Splitting headaches? Recent taxonomic changes affecting the British and Western Palearctic lists. British Birds 99 (6): 306-323.
  3. Snow, D. W. and Perrins, C. M. (1998). The Birds of the Western Palearctic Concise Edition. OUP ISBN 0-19-854099-X.

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