Cirl bunting — Emberiza cirlus

The male of this species is easily distinguished by its striking head and breast pattern, particularly the dark blackish throat. In contrast, the female is more drab and streaky, with finer dark streaking, a more boldly striped head, and a grayish rump (rather than a bright rusty one), distinguishing it from the Yellowhammer. When in flight, the white outer tail feathers are often visible. This bird thrives in sunny heathlands, woodland edges, and farmlands adorned with hedges. The male is known to sing from prominent perches such as bushes or wires, producing an unremarkable rattling trill. Its call repertoire includes a bright, metallic «tsiu» and a longer, high-pitched «tseeu.» Originally native to Eurasia and North Africa, it has been introduced to New Zealand.

Photo: Look how gorgeous Cirl bunting — Emberiza cirlus

Description Cirl bunting — Emberiza cirlus

1200The Emberiza cirlus, commonly known as the cirl bunting, is a species of bird belonging to the Emberizidae family. It is a passerine bird, specifically a bunting, and is native to Europe where it occupies a range stretching from Portugal and northwestern Spain to Turkey, and as far north as central and southern France, the northern parts of Italy, and the western border of Greece. The cirl bunting is a sedentary bird species, meaning it does not migrate over long distances, and instead tends to remain within its established habitat throughout the year.

This bird can be found in a variety of habitats within its range, including farmland, hedgerows, scrubland, and open woodland with scattered bushes. It is particularly associated with areas of traditional farmland featuring a diverse mosaic of crops, fallow land, and meadows. The cirl bunting tends to avoid intensively managed agricultural landscapes and is more commonly found in areas that offer a mix of natural and human-influenced habitats.

The cirl bunting is a small and colorful bird, measuring around 16 cm in length and weighing approximately 20-25 grams. It exhibits sexually dimorphic plumage, with males sporting a striking combination of bright yellow plumage on the head and chest, contrasting with olive-green upperparts and a chestnut-brown face mask. Females and juveniles, on the other hand, display more subdued colors, with streaked brown plumage and a paler, less distinctive head pattern.

In terms of behavior, the cirl bunting is primarily granivorous, feeding on a diet consisting mainly of seeds and grain, although it also supplements its diet with invertebrates during the breeding season. Its preferred foraging habitats are open areas where it can readily access grasses and seeds, as well as cultivated fields where it can find an abundance of food resources.

The cirl bunting is known for its melodious and distinctive song, which is composed of a series of clear, rolling notes with a jangling quality. This vocalization is an important component of the bird’s courtship and territorial behavior, serving to attract mates and communicate with neighboring individuals.

Conservation status of the cirl bunting has been a concern due to habitat loss and changes in agricultural practices, however, conservation efforts have led to some population recovery in certain areas, particularly through targeted measures aimed at preserving traditional farmland habitats. The cirl bunting is currently listed as «»Near Threatened»» on the IUCN Red List, highlighting the need for continued monitoring and conservation actions to ensure the long-term viability of this species.

Listen to them sing Cirl bunting — Emberiza cirlus

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