Emberiza pusilla (*)
Emberiza pusilla Pallas, 1776
Reise durch verschiedene Provinzen des Russischen Reichs 3 p.697
The Little Bunting, Emberiza pusilla, is a passerine bird. It belongs to the bunting and American sparrow family (Emberizidae), a group separated by most modern authors from the true finches (Fringillidae).
This is a small bunting at 12-13.5 cm in length. It has a heavily streaked brown back and white underparts with fine dark streaking. With its chestnut face and white malar stripe, it resembles a small female Reed Bunting, but has black crown stripes, a white eye-ring, and a fine dark border to the rear of its chestnut cheeks. Sexes are similar.
The call is a distinctive zik, and the song is a rolling siroo-sir-sir-siroo.
The Little Bunting breeds across the taiga of the far northeast of Europe and northern Asia. It is migratory, wintering in the subtropics in northern India, southern China and the northern parts of southeast Asia. The birds remain in their winter quarters for quite long; specimens were taken in Yunnan in late March. It is a rare vagrant to western Europe. This species is adaptable; in the mountains of Bhutan for example, where small numbers winter, it is typically found in agricultural habitat, mostly between 1,000 and 2,000 m ASL.
It breeds in open coniferous woodland, often with some birch or willow. 4-6 eggs are laid in a tree nest. Its natural food consists of insects when feeding young, and otherwise seeds.
A common and widely-ranging species, it is not considered threatened by the IUCN.
1. ^ Bangs (1932)
* Bangs, Outram (1932): Birds of western China obtained by the Kelley-Roosevelts expedition. Field Mus. Nat. Hist. Zool. Ser. 18(11): 343-379. Fulltext at the Internet Archive
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