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Pine bunting

Emberiza leucocephalos
Photo by Nial Moores (Birds Korea)

Common name:
pine bunting (en); escrevedeira-de-Gmelin (pt); bruant à calotte blanche (fr); escribano pinero (es); fichtenammer (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Emberizidae

This species is found in central and eastern Asia, from Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan to China. They migrate south to winter in India and southern China.

These birds are 16-17,5 cm long and weigh 25-30 g.

These birds are mostly found in boreal and temperate forests, showing a preference for well-lit forests of conifers, or in some regions birches and other deciduous trees, but avoids riverine deciduous woods, as well as mountain taiga. They can also be found in grassy steeps with scattered trees, in orchards and arable land.

They mostly eat seeds and other plant materials, but during the breeding season insects become an important part of the diet.

Pine buntings breed in May-August. The nest is on the ground, consisting of a cup made of stalks, rootlets, and dry grass, lined with soft grasses and very often with horsehair. The nest is often placed under a bush, grass tussock, or fallen branch. The female lays 4-6 eggs which are incubation for 13 days. The chicks fledge 10-14 days after hatching.

IUCN status – LC (Least concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is described as common. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

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