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Buntings

Male cirl bunting feeding on seeds

Image: Paco Gómez

The buntings of Europe, Asia and Africa are related to American sparrows.

They are rather finch-like but have differently-structured bills, slightly flatter heads and longer bodies, and many have longer tails with white sides. Some are short-legged and heavy-bodied and strictly terrestrial, others are lighter and live more in trees and bushes. Most have simple, unmusical but distinctive songs.

Some are long-distance migrants and several European and Asian species have appeared in the UK as rare vagrants.

Cirl bunting

A charming relative of the yellowhammer that is at the limit of its European range in the UK. ... More...

Cirl bunting

Corn bunting

This nondescript lowland farmland bird is the largest of the buntings and is most usually seen perched on a wire or post. It is a stout, dumpy bird brown which flies off with a fluttering flight and ... More...

Corn bunting

Lapland bunting

Slightly smaller than a reed bunting with a well marked head pattern, chestnut nape and chestnut wing panel. Spends most of its time on the ground and often seen in small flocks. Occasional birds are... More...

Lapland bunting

Reed bunting

Sparrow-sized but slim and with a long, deeply notched tail, the male has a black head, white collar and a drooping moustache. Females and winter males have a streaked head. In flight the tail looks b... More...

Reed bunting

Snow bunting

Snow buntings are large buntings, with striking `snowy' plumages. Males in summer have all white heads and underparts contrasting with a black mantle and wing tips. Females are a more mottled above.... More...

Snow bunting

Yellowhammer

Males are unmistakeable with a bright yellow head and underparts, brown back streaked with black, and chestnut rump. In flight it shows white outer tail feathers. Often seen perched on top of a hedge ... More...

Yellowhammer