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Cirl Bunting

From Opus

Photo by gmaxCarso, Gorizia, north-eastern Italy, June 2008
Photo by gmax
Carso, Gorizia, north-eastern Italy, June 2008
Emberiza cirlus


[edit] Identification

15-16.5cm (6-6½ in)
Male Cirl Buntings have diagnostic black and yellow faces.
The females show hints of this same black and yellow pattern including obvious broad dark lines behind and below the eye.

[edit] Similar Species

If you are in doubt about whether you have a Cirl Bunting or a Yellowhammer, check the rump colour - grey brown on a Cirl Bunting, almost red on a Yellowhammer. Also, Cirl Buntings have a small grey shoulder patch and richer chestnut on the upperparts.

[edit] Distribution

FemalePhoto by dippersPrawle Point, Devon, October 2008
Photo by dippers
Prawle Point, Devon, October 2008

Common in the south-west of the Western Palearctic, breeds from Iberia and Morocco north to most of France, the extreme south of England (southern Devon) and south-west Germany, and east to southern Romania and north-east Turkey. It is resident throughout its range, with no migratory populations.

Extralimital records are rare, with only a handful of records north to Scotland, the Netherlands, Denmark, Poland and the Ukraine, and south to the Canary Islands and Egypt.

[edit] Taxonomy

[edit] Subspecies

There are 2 subspecies[1]:

  • E. c. cirlus:
  • E. c. nigrostriata:
JuvenilePhoto by Brian DunningCré-sur-Loir, France, August 2013
Photo by Brian Dunning
Cré-sur-Loir, France, August 2013

[edit] Habitat

The preferred habitat is warm, dry scrubland and low-intensity agriculture with small fields and numerous hedges with scattered large trees for song perches; also uses large gardens close to farmland.

[edit] Behaviour

Flocks with other seed-eaters, especially Yellowhammers.

[edit] Action

Hops. A rather bounding flight.

[edit] Diet

Their diet consists mostly of seeds from herbs and grass for most of the year, with insects added during the breeding season.

[edit] Breeding

FemalePhoto by Wakely Sue and Simon WakelyEast Devon, December 2016
Photo by Wakely Sue and Simon Wakely
East Devon, December 2016

The nest is placed in a hedge or bush, and the eggs are incubated for 14 days. There can be 2 or 3 broods.

[edit] Vocalisation

Call "zit"

Listen in an external program

[edit] References

  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2016. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2016, with updates to August 2016. Downloaded from
  2. ARKive
  3. Collins Pocket Guide to British Birds 1966
  4. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved December 2016)

[edit] External Links


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