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Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Superphylum: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Cladus: Craniata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Superclassis: Tetrapoda
Cladus: Reptiliomorpha
Cladus: Amniota
Classis: Reptilia
Cladus: Eureptilia
Cladus: Romeriida
Subclassis: Diapsida
Cladus: Sauria
Infraclassis: Archosauromorpha
Cladus: Crurotarsi
Divisio: Archosauria
Subsectio: Ornithodira
Subtaxon: Dinosauromorpha
Cladus: Dinosauria
Ordo: Saurischia
Cladus: Theropoda
Cladus: Neotheropoda
Infraclassis: Aves
Ordo: Passeriformes
Subordo: Passeri
Infraordo: Passerida
Superfamilia: Passeroidea

Familia: Emberizidae
Genus: Emberiza

Genera transferred to Passerellidae: Aimophila – Ammodramus – Amphispiza – Arremon – Arremonops – Artemisiospiza – Atlapetes – Calamospiza – Chlorospingus – Chondestes – Junco – Melospiza – Melozone – Oriturus – Passerculus – Passerella – Peucaea – Pezopetes – Pipilo – Pooecetes – Pselliophorus – Rhynchospiza – Spizella – Spizelloides – Torreornis – Xenospiza – Zonotrichia


Emberizidae Brehm, 1828

Linnaeus, 1758

Primary references

Isis von Oken 21: p.1278 BHL
[Attributed by Brehm to "Vigors, 1825", but Vigors (Zoological Journal 2: p.192 BHL, 1825) used "Emberizae", not a valid family name]


Klicka, J., & Banks, R. C. 2011. A generic name for some sparrows (Aves: Emberizidae). Zootaxa 2793: 67–68. Full article (PDF)Reference page.
Barker, F. K., Burns, K. J., Klicka, J., Lanyon, S. M., & Lovette, I. J. 2013. Going to extremes: Contrasting rates of diversification in a recent radiation of New World passerine birds. Systematic Biology 62 (2): 298–320. DOI: 10.1093/sysbio/sys094 Full article (PDF)Reference page.
Klicka, J., Barker, F.K., Burns, K.J., Lanyon, S.M., Lovette, I.J. & Chaves, J.A. 2014. A comprehensive multilocus assessment of sparrow (Aves: Passerellidae) relationships. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 77: 177-182. DOI: 10.1016/j.ympev.2014.04.025Reference page.
Barker, F.K., Burns, K.J., Klicka, J., Lanyon, S.M. & Lovette, I.J. 2015. New insights into New World biogeography: An integrated view from the phylogeny of blackbirds, cardinals, sparrows, tanagers, warblers, and allies. The Auk 132(2): 333-348. DOI: 10.1642/AUK-14-110.1 Open accessReference page.


Taxonomic updates IOC Version 8.1 (Jan 25, 2018)

Vernacular names
беларуская: Аўсянкавыя
български: Овесаркови
brezhoneg: Emberizidae
català: Emberízid
čeština: Strnadovití
dansk: Værlinger
Deutsch: Ammern
English: Buntings
Esperanto: Emberizedoj
español: Escribano
فارسی: زردپره‌ایان
suomi: Sirkut
Nordfriisk: Fialsparger
français: Emberizidae
עברית: גבתוניים
hrvatski: Strnadice
magyar: Sármányfélék
italiano: Emberizidae
日本語: ホオジロ科
ქართული: გრატასებრნი
한국어: 멧새과
lietuvių: Startiniai
македонски: Стрнарки
Nederlands: Gorzen
norsk nynorsk: Busksporvfamilien
norsk: Buskspurver
polski: Trznadle
português: Emberizidae
română: Presură
русский: Овсянковые
саха тыла: Татыйыктыҥылар кэргэннэрэ
davvisámegiella: Cizit
svenska: Fältsparvar
Türkçe: Kiraz kuşugiller
українська: Вівсянкові
中文: 鹀科

The buntings are a group of Old World passerine birds forming the genus Emberiza, the only genus in the family Emberizidae. They are seed-eating birds with stubby, conical bills.

The family Emberizidae was formerly much larger and included the species now placed in the Passerellidae (New World sparrows) and Calcariidae (longspurs and snow buntings). Molecular phylogenetic studies found that the large family consisted of distinct clades that were better treated as separate families.[1][2]

The genus Emberiza is now the only genus placed in the family Emberizidae.[3] The genus was introduced by the Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus in 1758 in the tenth edition of his Systema Naturae.[4] The type species was subsequently designated as the yellowhammer (Emberiza citrinella).[5] The genus name Emberiza is from Old German Embritz, a bunting.[6] The origin of the English "bunting" is unknown.[7]

A 2008 genetic study found that three emberizid species that were placed in their own monotypic genera clustered within the Emberiza. These were the crested bunting (Melophus lathami), the slaty bunting (Latouchiornis siemsseni), and the corn bunting (Miliaria calandra).[8] All three species are now included in the genus Emberiza.[3]

A large DNA-based study of the passerines published in 2019 found that the buntings are most closely related to the longspurs and snow buntings in the family Calcariidae.[9]

Ornithologists Edward Dickinson and Leslie Christidis in the fourth edition of the Howard and Moore Complete Checklist of the Birds of the World chose to split up Emberiza and recognise the genera Fringillaria, Melophus, Granativora, Emberiza, and Schoeniclus.[10] Their example has not been followed by the online version of the Handbook of the Birds of the World[11] nor by Frank Gill and David Donsker in the list of world birds that they maintain on behalf of the International Ornithologists' Union.[3] The British Ornithologists' Union has argued that splitting the genus provides little benefit and destabilizes the nomenclature.[12]

Species in the New World genus Passerina include the word "bunting" in their common names, but are now classed in the family Cardinalidae.[13]

The family is divided into four major clades. The species in Clade I are mainly African while those in Clades II to IV are Palearctic:[14]

Clade I

Cabanis's bunting – Emberiza cabanis

Golden-breasted bunting – Emberiza faviventris

Somali bunting – Emberiza polioplura

Cape bunting – Emberiza capensis

Lark-like bunting – Emberiza impetuani

Socotra bunting – Emberiza socotrana

Gosling's bunting – Emberiza goslingi

Cinnamon-breasted bunting – Emberiza tahapisi

Striolated bunting – Emberiza striolata

House bunting – Emberiza sahari

Clade II

Yellow-throated bunting – Emberiza elegans

Slaty bunting – Emberiza siemsseni

Japanese reed bunting – Emberiza yessonsis

Common reed bunting – Emberiza schoenicus

Pallas's bunting – Emberiza pallasi

Yellow-browed bunting – Emberiza chrysophrys

Grey bunting – Emberiza variabilis

Tristram's bunting – Emberiza tristrami

Chestnut bunting – Emberiza rutila

Yellow-breasted bunting – Emberiza aureola

Little bunting – Emberiza pusilla

Rustic bunting – Emberiza rustica

Yellow bunting – Emberiza sulphurata

Black-faced bunting – Emberiza spodocephala

Clade III

Crested bunting – Emberiza lathami

Black-headed bunting – Emberiza melanocephala

Red-headed bunting – Emberiza bruniceps

Clade IV

Corn bunting – Emberiza calandra

Chestnut-eared bunting – Emberiza fucata

Tibetan bunting – Emberiza koslowi

Jankowski's bunting – Emberiza jankowskii

Meadow bunting – Emberiza cioides

Rock bunting – Emberiza cia

Godlewski's bunting – Emberiza godlewskii

Cirl bunting – Emberiza cirlus

White-capped bunting – Emberiza stewarti

Pine bunting – Emberiza leucocephalos

Yellowhammer – Emberiza citrinella

Grey-necked bunting – Emberiza buchani

Cinereous bunting – Emberiza cineracea

Cretzschmar's bunting – Emberiza caesia

Ortolan bunting – Emberiza hortulana

The above cladogram is based on a study published in 2021. The phylogenetic relationships of two African species, the brown-rumped bunting (Emberiza affinis) and Vincent's bunting (Emberiza vincenti), were not determined in the study.[14]
List of species

The genus contains 44 species.[3]

Crested bunting (Emberiza lathami)
Slaty bunting (Emberiza siemsseni)
Corn bunting (Emberiza calandra)
Yellowhammer (Emberiza citrinella)
Pine bunting (Emberiza leucocephalos)
Rock bunting (Emberiza cia)
Godlewski's bunting (Emberiza godlewskii)
Meadow bunting (Emberiza cioides)
White-capped bunting (Emberiza stewarti)
Jankowski's bunting (Emberiza jankowskii)
Grey-necked bunting (Emberiza buchanani)
Cinereous bunting (Emberiza cineracea)
Ortolan bunting (Emberiza hortulana)
Cretzschmar's bunting (Emberiza caesia)
Cirl bunting (Emberiza cirlus)
Striolated bunting (Emberiza striolata)
House bunting (Emberiza sahari)
Lark-like bunting (Emberiza impetuani)
Cinnamon-breasted bunting (Emberiza tahapisi)
Gosling's bunting (Emberiza goslingi)
Socotra bunting (Emberiza socotrana)
Cape bunting (Emberiza capensis)
Vincent's bunting (Emberiza vincenti)
Tristram's bunting (Emberiza tristrami)
Chestnut-eared bunting (Emberiza fucata)
Little bunting (Emberiza pusilla)
Yellow-browed bunting (Emberiza chrysophrys)
Rustic bunting (Emberiza rustica)
Yellow-throated bunting (Emberiza elegans)
Yellow-breasted bunting (Emberiza aureola)
Somali bunting (Emberiza poliopleura)
Golden-breasted bunting (Emberiza flaviventris)
Brown-rumped bunting (Emberiza affinis)
Cabanis's bunting (Emberiza cabanisi)
Chestnut bunting (Emberiza rutila)
Tibetan bunting (Emberiza koslowi)
Black-headed bunting (Emberiza melanocephala)
Red-headed bunting (Emberiza bruniceps)
Yellow bunting (Emberiza sulphurata)
Black-faced bunting (Emberiza spodocephala)
Grey bunting (Emberiza variabilis)
Pallas's reed bunting (Emberiza pallasi)
Japanese reed bunting (Emberiza yessoensis)
Common reed bunting (Emberiza schoeniclus)

An extinct species has been described:[15]

† Long-legged bunting (Emberiza alcoveri) (prehistoric)


Barker, F.K.; Burns, K.J.; Klicka, J.; Lanyon, S.M.; Lovette, I.J. (2013). "Going to extremes: contrasting rates of diversification in a recent radiation of New World passerine birds". Systematic Biology. 62 (2): 298–320. doi:10.1093/sysbio/sys094. PMID 23229025.
Barker, F.K.; Burns, K.J.; Klicka, J.; Lanyon, S.M.; Lovette, I.J. (2015). "New insights into New World biogeography: An integrated view from the phylogeny of blackbirds, cardinals, sparrows, tanagers, warblers, and allies". Auk. 132 (2): 333–346. doi:10.1642/AUK-14-110.1.
Gill, Frank; Donsker, David, eds. (2018). "Buntings". World Bird List Version 8.1. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 2 May 2018.
Linnaeus, Carl (1758). Systema Naturae per regna tria naturae, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis (in Latin). Volume 1 (10th ed.). Holmiae:Laurentii Salvii. p. 176.
Paynter, Raymond A. Jr, ed. (1970). Check-list of Birds of the World. Volume 13. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Museum of Comparative Zoology. p. 5.
Jobling, James A. (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London, United Kingdom: Christopher Helm. p. 145. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.
"Bunting". Oxford English Dictionary (Online ed.). Oxford University Press. (Subscription or participating institution membership required.)
Alström, P.; Olsson, U.; Lei, F.; Wang, H.; Gao, W.; Sundberg, P. (2008). "Phylogeny and classification of the Old World Emberizini (Aves, Passeriformes)". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 47 (3): 960–973. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2007.12.007. PMID 18411062.
Oliveros, C.H.; et al. (2019). "Earth history and the passerine superradiation". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 116 (16): 7916–7925. doi:10.1073/pnas.1813206116. PMC 6475423. PMID 30936315.
Dickinson, E.C.; Christidis, L., eds. (2014). The Howard & Moore Complete Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 2: Passerines (4th ed.). Eastbourne, UK: Aves Press. pp. 353–357. ISBN 978-0-9568611-2-2.
del Hoyo, Joseph (ed.). "Taxonomic structure and notes: Emberizidae". Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions. Retrieved 25 June 2019.
Sangster, G.; et al. (2016). "Taxonomic recommendations for Western Palearctic birds: 11th report". Ibis. 158 (1): 206–212. doi:10.1111/ibi.12322.
Gill, Frank; Donsker, David, eds. (2019). "Cardinals, grosbeaks and (tanager) allies". World Bird List Version 9.2. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 24 June 2019.
Cai, T.; Wu, G.; Sun, L.; Zhang, Y.; Peng, Z.; Guo, Y.; Liu, X.; Pan, T.; Chang, J.; Sun, Z.; Zhang, B. (2021). "Biogeography and diversification of Old World buntings (Aves: Emberizidae): radiation in open habitats". Journal of Avian Biology. 52 (6). doi:10.1111/jav.02672. S2CID 236608560.

Rando, J. C.; Lopez, M.; Segui, B. (1999). "A new species of extinct flightless passerine" (PDF). The Condor. 101 (1): 1–13. doi:10.2307/1370440. JSTOR 1370440.

Further reading

Buntings and Sparrows - A Guide to the Buntings and North American Sparrows by Urban Olsson and Jon Curson, illustrated by Clive Byers (1995) ISBN 1-873403-19-4

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