Red-headed Bunting

Red-headed Bunting


Profile Red-headed Bunting
[order] Passeriformes |

[order] Passeriformes | [family] Emberizidae | [latin] Emberiza bruniceps | [UK] Red-headed Bunting | [FR] Bruant à tête rousse | [DE] Braunkopfammer | [ES] Escribano de Cabeza Roja | [IT] Zigolo testa aranciata | [NL] Bruinkopgors

Bruinkopgors determination

copyright: J. Hupperetz

Rather large bunting, male has variable golden and chestnut head and bib, distinctly greenish mantle, bright yellow-green rump, and yellow underparts.
Female resembles E. melanocephala but many show greenish-olive or grey tone on crown and back, while a few have buff-chestnut on forecrown, lower throat and upper breast.
Call distinctive. Sexes dissimilar, individual and seasonal variation in male.

Adjoining and complementary to that of Black-headed Bunting in south Palearctic, but mainly in warmer, drier, and more open country, with less vigorous vegetation, in steppe, semi-desert, and desert oasis situations. Prefers thickets where available, and sings from top of bush or telephone wire.
Occupies all kinds of shrubby and herbaceous thickets, scattered in thin patches over relatively open countryside, but is highly typical of cultivated areas, seeking out water. Often nests close to human habitations, and ascends mountains freely to C. 2000 m.

Emberiza bruniceps has a predominantly Asian breeding distribution, which just
extends into Europe in southern Russia. Its European breeding population is very
small (as few as 250 pairs), but underwent a large increase between 1970-1990. No
trend data were available for 1990-2000, but there is no evidence to suggest that it
declined. Although the size of the European population could render it susceptible
to the risks affecting small populations, it is marginal to a much larger non-European

Diet seeds and other plant material, invertebrates in breeding season. Adults apparently eat much plant food throughout summer, though diet of young almost wholly invertebrates. Feeds mostly on ground often in or near areas of cultivation, also in shrubs and bushes.

This species has a large range, with an estimated global extent of occurrence of 1,000,000-10,000,000 km2. It has a large global population, including an estimated 500-2,000 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]

Second half of May to last week of June in Transcaspia and Iran, mid May to late June in Kazakhstan.
Nest site is vuilt in low vegetation and well hidden in dense or thorny shrub, vine, fruit tree, etc., or very close to ground in thick grass. Nest concists rather loose and untidy foundation of stems of cereals, rough grasses, Umbelliferae and Cruciferae, etc., often with flowers attached, sometimes pieces of bark or leaves. Lined with fine grass, plant fibres, rootlets, and hair.
3-6 eggs, incubation about 10-14 days, by female only.

Winters out of breeding range in Russia to w,n,c Indian sub-continent. (Sibley Charles G. 1996)


  1. Measurements
  2. spanwidth min.: 25 cm
  3. spanwidth max.: 28 cm
  4. size min.: 16 cm
  5. size max.: 17 cm
  6. Breeding
  7. incubation min.: 10 days
  8. incubation max.: 14 days
  9. fledging min.: 0 days
  10. fledging max.: 0 days
  11. broods 1
  12. eggs min.: 3
  13. eggs max.: 6
  14. Conservation Status
  15. Bruinkopgors status Least Concern
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