Black-faced Bunting (Emberiza spodocephala)

Black-faced Bunting

[order] PASSERIFORMES | [family] Emberizidae | [latin] Emberiza spodocephala | [UK] Black-faced Bunting | [FR] Bruant a masque noir | [DE] Maskenammer | [ES] Escribano de Cara Negra | [NL] Maskergors


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Emberiza spodocephala EU e OR
Emberiza spodocephala personata
Emberiza spodocephala sordida
Emberiza spodocephala spodocephala

Physical charateristics

Slightly smaller and proportionately a little shorter tailed than Reed Bunting but noticeably larger than Pallas?s Reed Bunting. Rather small, quite slim bunting, with structure intermediate between Reed Bunting and Pallas?s Reed Bunting but with long, stout, conical bill. Breeding adult male has diagnostic bright pinkish to yellowish base to grey-black bill, black lores, greyish hood, and pale yellow underparts. Basic plumage colours and pattern of female and immature recall Reed Bunting, but, with face and sides of neck clouded grey, also suggest Dunnock.

Listen to the sound of Black-faced Bunting

[audio: Bunting.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 20 cm wingspan max.: 23 cm
size min.: 13 cm size max.: 15 cm
incubation min.: 0 days incubation max.: 0 days
fledging min.: 0 days fledging max.: 0 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 4  
      eggs max.: 5  


Eurasia : East


Breeding in east Palearctic in tall dense grass and shrubs, especially in river valley floodlands, in moist coniferous taiga forests and occasionally in mountain forest, which may be broadleaf, up to 600 m in Altai and 1500 m in Japan. In Indian winter quarters, feeds on ground in rice stubbles or on moist edges of pools, usually resorting to cover near water.


Black-faced Bunting breeds in dense undergrowth along streams and rivers in the taiga zone, and lays four or five eggs in a ground or tree nest.

Feeding habits

Its natural food consists of insects when feeding young, and otherwise seeds.


This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Black-faced Bunting status Least Concern


Chiefly migratory. Northern race, nominate spodocephala, migrates through Mongolia, south-east Russia, north-east China and Korea to winter in southern Korea, eastern and southern China from Hopeh (few) south to extreme south (including Hainan), west to Kwangsi and Hunan, also in Taiwan. Southern race sordida disperses widely between south-west and east, to winter from Bangladesh and eastern Nepal east through northern Burma to extreme north of Thailand (rare), northern Laos and northern Vietnam.

Distribution map

Black-faced Bunting distribution range map

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