Thai National Parks

Species of Thailand

Grey-necked bunting

Emberiza buchanani

Edward Blyth, 1844

In Thai: นกจาบปีกอ่อนหัวเทาปากส้ม

The grey-necked bunting (Emberiza buchanani), sometimes referred to as grey-hooded bunting (a name also in use for chestnut-eared bunting) is a species of bird in the family Emberizidae. It breeds along a wide distribution range from the Caspian Sea to the Altai Mountains in Central Asia and winters in parts of Southern Asia. Like other buntings it is found in small flocks.


This bunting has a long pink bill and is greyish above. The male has a distinctive white eye-ring that stands out in contrast to the grey hood. The chin and throat are whitish pink and are bordered by grey malar stripes. The underparts are pinkish brown. The female is duller but the moustachial stripe can appear more noticeable. The outer tail feathers are whitish.

The species was described by Edward Blyth based on a drawing by Francis Buchanan-Hamilton after whom the species is named. It has been suggested that the actual date of the description was 1845 due to delays in the publication of the journal of The Asiatic Society. A supposed type specimen in the Indian Museum was never located.

In winter it makes a short subdued click note but the song is a metalling jingle made of swee-swee notes ending with a dzwe-ee-dul.

Three subspecies are noted nominate buchanani, neobscura, and ceruttii.

Habitat and distribution

This bunting is found mainly in dry and open habitats, often stony, scrubby hillsides covered with low thorn scrub. Birds that breed in the Baluchistan region winter in India moving through Gujarat in September and returning in March to their breeding grounds. It is found in Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bhutan, Nepal, China, Hong Kong, India, Iran, Israel, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Oman, Pakistan, Russia, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

It is an extremely rare vagrant north of its breeding range, with recent records from Finland and the Netherlands, though wanderers may be overlooked due to its similarity, in non-breeding plumage, to the closely related and far commoner ortolan bunting.

They winter in parts of Africa, West Asia, and parts of South Asia as far south as Sri Lanka.

Its natural habitat is temperate grassland mainly below 7000 ft. In winter it is found in weedy or stubbly fields. It nests on the ground under some overhanging vegetation. The nest is lined with grass and hair. The song given from a perch is a series of short and shrill notes that increase in volume.

A tick Hyalomma turanicum has been recorded on birds from Kazakhstan.

Claud Ticehurst noted that males and females migrated separately.

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Category / Seasonal Status

Wiki listed status (concerning Thai population): Rare

BCST Category: Recorded in an apparently wild state within the last 50 years

BCST Seasonal status: vagrant (non-breeding visitor with three or fewer records)

Scientific classification

Emberiza buchanani

Common names

  • Thai: นกจาบปีกอ่อนหัวเทาปากส้ม

Conservation status

Least Concern (IUCN 3.1)

Least Concern (IUCN 3.1)


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Grey-necked bunting

Range Map

Distribution map of Grey-necked bunting, Emberiza buchanani in Thailand
  • Mueang Tak District, Tak
Range map of Emberiza buchanani in Thailand