Pine Bunting

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Emberiza leucocephalos

Pine Bunting

The Pine Bunting a robust bird, with a thick seed-eater's bill.

It is about 6.3 - 7 inches in length, with a wingspan of 10 inches and weight of about 19 - 37 grams.

Males have white crown and cheeks, and a chestnut forehead and throat, and a heavily streaked brown back.

Females are much duller and more streaked on their undersides.

Non-breeding plumage is like that of a Yellowhammer, but with all the yellow replaced by white.

CALL: Resemble those of the Yellowhammer.

SONG: Given from tree or bush, is very similar to the song of the Yellowhammer too “ze-ze-ze-ze-ze-ze ziiiii”. It is usually impossible to make certain identification, although the song of the Pine Bunting is generally softer.

Feeds mainly on invertebrates during the breeding season, such as grasshoppers, bugs, beetles, caterpillars, flies, spiders and snails. Outside this period, it feeds mainly on seeds of cereals and grasses.

In its breeding range, it is found in open boreal forest, preferring evergreen forest and avoiding pure deciduous areas.

They can also be found in grasslands steppes with scattered trees and shrubs.

Outside of the breeding season they will utilize a broader array of habitats, including open forest, forest clearings and edges, agricultural land, roadsides, parks and suburban areas, and shrubby grasslands.

Breeds across much of temperate Asia, migrating south to central Asia, north India and southern China in winter.

The female builds the nest, a woven cup of grass, rootlets and stalks, with a lining of soft grass and hair. It is placed on the ground in a shallow depression protected by vegetation such as bush or clump of grass.

She lays 4 - 5 pale whitish-blue/green eggs with small dark spots and streaks. She incubates alone during 13 days but both parents feed the chicks. The young leave the nest 9 days after hatching, and fledge 1 - 3 days later.


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