- Emberiza cirlus
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.
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.
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.
There are 2 subspecies:
- E. c. cirlus:
- E. c. nigrostriata:
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.
Flocks with other seed-eaters, especially Yellowhammers.
Hops. A rather bounding flight.
Their diet consists mostly of seeds from herbs and grass for most of the year, with insects added during the breeding season.
The nest is placed in a hedge or bush, and the eggs are incubated for 14 days. There can be 2 or 3 broods.
- 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/
- Collins Pocket Guide to British Birds 1966
- Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved December 2016)
- BirdForum Opus contributors. (2021) Cirl Bunting. In: BirdForum, the forum for wild birds and birding. Retrieved 8 May 2021 from https://www.birdforum.net/wiki/Cirl_Bunting