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Order Song birds/Passeriformes, Family Buntings/Emberizidae

Reed Bunting/Emberiza schoeniclus - Male

L 13½-15½ cm. Breeds in reedbeds, tall rushes and shrubbery on wet ground or at lake margins, also in drier sites (young conifer plantations, rape fields etc.). In Britain & Ireland resident, with immigrants from N and E Continent late Sep-Apr/May. male easy to see in breeding season, sings from reed stem or bushtop, but species otherwise rather unobtrusive; flies off in springing, slightly uneven and jerky flight, quickly taking cover in vegetation.
IDENTIFICATION: Mid-sized bunting. Bill small (except in SE Europe and areas around Black and Caspian Seas, where bill is strong and sturdy) and dark. Plumage mostly brown and buffy-white with dark streaking and white tail-sides. - male summer: Easily identified by black head and throat with pure white neck band and narrow white moustachial stripe. - Other plumages: Buffish supercilium and grey-brown crown and cheeks. males usually told by dusky or irregularly black-spotted throat, while females have unspotted buffish-white throat-centre with distinct black malar stripes. Lesser wing-coverts reddish-brown. Cheeks always slightly swarthy (never uniform red-brown as on Little Bunting). Legs red-brown or black (darker than Little’s).
VOICE: Calls include a high, softly downslurred ‘siü’ and a slightly impure, ringing ‘bzü’, heard mostly from autumn migrants. On territory, sometimes short, sharp ‘zi zi …’. Song a brief, simple verse, usually at slow tempo, a few sharp rolling notes spelt out and ending with a couple of faster notes or a short trill, e.g. ‘sripp, sripp, sria, srisrisirr’; varies in detail, and occasionally faster, but species nevertheless recognized by voice.

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