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Cirl Bunting - BirdForum Opus

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

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.

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.

Distribution

Female
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.

Taxonomy

Subspecies

There are 2 subspecies[1]:

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

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.

Behaviour

Flocks with other seed-eaters, especially Yellowhammers.

Action

Hops. A rather bounding flight.

Diet

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

Breeding

Female
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.

Vocalisation

Call "zit"

Listen in an external program

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 http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. ARKive
  3. Collins Pocket Guide to British Birds 1966
  4. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved December 2016)

Recommended Citation

External Links


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