Binomial name: Emberiza pusilla, Peter Simon Pallas, 1776
The little bunting (Emberiza pusilla) is a passerine bird belonging to the bunting family (Emberizidae).
First described by Peter Simon Pallas in 1776, the little bunting is a monotypic species, with no geographical variation across its extensive Palearctic range.
The genus name Emberiza is from Old German Embritz, a bunting. The specific pusilla is Latin for "very small".
This is a small bunting, measuring only 12 - 14 cm in length. It has a heavily streaked brown back and white underparts with fine dark streaking. With its chestnut face and white malar stripe, it resembles a small female reed bunting, but has black crown stripes, a white eye-ring, and a fine dark border to the rear of its chestnut cheeks. The sexes are similar.
The call is a distinctive zik, and the song is a rolling siroo-sir-sir-siroo.
The little bunting breeds across the taiga of the far north-east of Europe and northern Eurosiberia to the Russian Far East. It is migratory, wintering in the subtropics in northern India, southern China and the northern parts of south-east Asia. The birds remain in their winter quarters for quite long; specimens were taken in Yunnan in late March. It is a rare vagrant to western Europe. This species is adaptable; in the mountains of Bhutan for example, where small numbers winter, it is typically found in an agricultural habitat, mostly between 1000 and 2000 m ASL.
It breeds in open coniferous woodland, often with some birch or willow. Four to six eggs are laid in a tree nest. Its natural food consists of seeds, or when feeding young, insects.
A common and widely-ranging species, it is not considered threatened on the IUCN Red List.
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- Emberiza pusilla
Least Concern (IUCN3.1)