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© Copyright: Images: Jari Peltomäki. Recording: Jan-Erik Bruun. All rights reserved.

Little Bunting

Emberiza pusilla

  • Family: Buntings – Emberizidae
  • Appearance: Considerably smaller than other buntings. Plumage resembles female Reed Bunting with dark, streaked back, pale underparts with some streaking, and reddish brown cheeks.
  • Size: Length 12–13.5 cm, weight 12–13 g.
  • Nest: By a grassy hummock, made of dry grass and the leaves of cotton grass plants.
  • Breeding: 4–6 eggs laid June–July, incubated mainly by female for 11–12 days. Fledglings remain in nest for 6–7.5 days, and learn to fly within 11–13 days.
  • Distribution: Breeds in the moist wooded margins of marshes among birch and willow trees in NE Finland and Eastern Lapland. Finnish breeding population estimated at 30,000 pairs.
  • Migration: Flies south between August and November, probably returning April–May. Winters in SE Asia.
  • Diet: Invertebrates, seeds, some parts of plants.
  • Calls: A sharp “tsik” call, and a rather weak high-pitched and varied song.

Little Buntings resemble female Reed Buntings, but are considerably smaller. Other distinguishing features include pale wing stripes, reddish colouring on their cheeks, the straight shape of their beaks, and well-defined streaks on their flanks. They can also be confused with Rustic Buntings, though the markings on their heads differ, and Little Buntings lack the reddish colouring visible on the neck, rump and underparts of Rustic Buntings. They have pale brown legs, black beaks with paler lower mandibles, and dark brown irises.

Other species from the same genus
Other species from the same family

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