Male is largest bunting of west Palearctic with heavily streaked buff-brown plumage.
Female smaller but still bulky, sharing male’s heavy bill and stout legs. Recalls female sparrow or Eurasian Skylark far more than other buntings. No white in tail. Size, flight, and voice all more important to identification than plumage details.
Sexes similar, no seasonal variation.
Breeds in middle latitudes of south-west Palearctic, in cool and warm temperate, Mediterranean, and steppe climatic zones, including extremes of both oceanic and continental types.
Mainly in lowlands, preferably undulating or sloping rather than level, and with pronounced liking for vicinity of sea coasts. Avoids forest, wetlands, rocky and broken terrain, and, in most regions, mountains or high plateaux, as well as built-up areas.
Apart from need for perches to overlook territory and to serve as song-posts, is at home in fully open country, and has minimal demands for cover, except to some extent foor roosting.
Miliaria calandra is a widespread breeder across much of Europe (except the north),
which constitutes >50% of its global breeding range. Its European breeding population
is very large (>7,900,000 pairs), and was stable between 1970-1990. Although certain
populations-notably in Bulgaria and Romania-remained stable or increased during
1990-2000, the species declined across much of Europe, including the key population
in Turkey, and underwent a moderate decline (>10%) overall.
Seeds, other plant material, and invertebrates, especially in breeding season. Feeds almost wholly on ground in arable fields, damp meadows, short rough grass, etc. In autumn, commonly in stubble and fields where root crops have been harvested or dung spread, etc., only in harsh winters, and much less so than, Yellowhammer
This species has a large range, with an estimated global Extent of Occurrence of 10,000,000 km². It has a large global population, including an estimated 16,000,000-44,000,000 individuals in Europe (BirdLife International in prep.). Global population trends have not been quantified, but the species is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population decline criterion of the IUCN Red List (i.e. declining more than 30% in ten years or three generations). For these reasons, the species is evaluated as Least Concern. [conservation status from birdlife.org]
From early June to mid July in Britain, mid May to July in Germany, second half of February to second half of May in Israel, and Mar-June in Canary Islands. Nest site is generally on ground, in thick tangled grass or shrub, in depression in soil of arable field, or in pasture, often in clump of thick weeds. Nest is a fairly large loose construction of stalks, grass stems, and roots, lined with fine grass, rootlets, and sometimes hair. 4-6 eggs, incubation period is 12-14 days, by female only.
Resident to partially migratory. Winters chiefly within breeding range, but also regularly south to North Africa and northern Arabia. Western migrants head mostly south-west or SSW, and some southern birds move west; at least some eastern birds head south or east of south. Data suggest central European birds migrate more than north European ones. Resident birds roam in flocks in winter, resulting in absence from some breeding localities.
- spanwidth min.: 27 cm
- spanwidth max.: 30 cm
- size min.: 16 cm
- size max.: 19 cm
- incubation min.: 10 days
- incubation max.: 11 days
- fledging min.: 9 days
- fledging max.: 12 days
- broods 1
- eggs min.: 2
- eggs max.: 4
- Conservation Status
- Emberiza calandra buturlini
- Emberiza calandra calandra
- Emberiza calandra
- EU w, sc, also n Africa