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Young bird

© Copyright: Images: Jari Peltomäki, M. & W. von Wright: Svenska fåglar (Kansalliskirjasto, The National Library of Finland). Recording: Jan-Erik Bruun. All rights reserved.

Reed Bunting

Emberiza schoeniclus

  • Family: Buntings – Emberizidae
  • Appearance: A smallish bunting. Males have distinctive black and white heads and rusty brown and black streaked upper parts. Females are similar in appearance to the Little Bunting.
  • Size: Length 13.5–15.5 cm, weight 15–24 g.
  • Nest: On the ground on a sedge hummock or by the roots of a willow bush. Made of straw, lined with dry grass, hair and a few feathers.
  • Breeding: 2–6 eggs laid in May, incubated mainly by female for 11–15 days. Fledglings remain in nest for 8–11 days, and then learn to fly a few days after leaving the nest.
  • Distribution: Breeds throughout Finland by lakes and rivers in reed beds and willow stands. Finnish breeding population estimated at 210,000–330,000 pairs.
  • Migration: Migrates by day and by night. Leaves Finland September–October, returning March-April. Winters around the Mediterranean, also occasionally in Finland.
  • Diet: Invertebrates, seeds, plant material.
  • Calls: A chirpy “tsee”, song short, stuttering and modest.
  • Endangerment: Vulnerable, protected in Finland. Globally Least concern.

Male Reed Buntings have black heads and bibs extending onto their chests, broken onlu by their distinctive white moustache stripes and a white collar round the back of the neck. Their backs are rusty brown with black streaks. They have greyish rumps and wing coverts, and their tertials (the large feathers at the wing base) and the edges of their primary wing feathers are rusty brown. Their underparts are brown with faint streaking.

Females and juveniles are similar in appearance to Little Buntings, but they have rusty brown wing stripes, greyish brown colouring on their cheeks, convex profiles to the upper edge of the beak, and broader and less distinct streaking on their flanks. Reed Buntings have dark brown irises, beaks and legs.

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

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