Rustic Bunting (Emberiza rustica)

Rustic Bunting

[order] PASSERIFORMES | [family] Emberizidae | [latin] Emberiza rustica | [UK] Rustic Bunting | [FR] Bruant rustique | [DE] Waldammer | [ES] Escribano rustico | [NL] Bosgors


Monotypic species

Physical charateristics

Medium-sized, rather upstanding, perky bunting, with rather square or peaked crown. All plumages show silky-white underparts white underparts with bold pattern of spots across breast and on flanks.
Male beautiful, has black head with white lines and spots, strongly rufous breast, flanks, and rump, and bright white upper wing-bar and tail-edges.
Female and immature less distinctive, lacking as distinctive a head pattern but still showing wide rufous streaks on flanks and mottled warm rufous-buff rump. Sexes dissimilar, some seasonal variation in male.

Listen to the sound of Rustic Bunting

[audio: Bunting.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 21 cm wingspan max.: 25 cm
size min.: 13 cm size max.: 15 cm
incubation min.: 12 days incubation max.: 14 days
fledging min.: 13 days fledging max.: 14 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 4  
      eggs max.: 6  


Eurasia : North


Breeds in north Palearctic, in boreal zone, having expanded in modern times from more easterly regions. Favours moist and wooded lowland situations, especially growth of willow, birch, and poplar on margins of coniferous taiga forest by fens or river banks, or moist mosses.
Winters in cool temperate climates, on open as well as wooded terrain.


Mid May to first half of June in Sweden, June in Lapland, May-July in North west Russia.
Nest site is generally built on ground, often near water, in tussocky grass, moss cushions, among thick roots, etc., beside bush or tree or under overhanging grass, sedge, etc., or in depression in level ground. Sometimes bbove ground in tree or on stump. Nest is a foundation of grass, sedge, horsetail, moss, leaves, needles, lichen etc., lined with fine plant material, hair, and sometimes feathers. 4-5 eggs, incubation 11-13 days done by both sexes.

Feeding habits

Mainly seeds, plus insects and spiders in breeding season. feeds on ground and in bushes, commonly in damp and marshy places, and much invertebrate prey associated with water. In forest, tosses leaves aside while foraging.


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). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not 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.
Emberiza rustica is a widespread summer visitor to Fennoscandia and northern Russia,
with Europe accounting for less than half of its global breeding range. Its European
breeding population is very large (>6,100,000 pairs), and was stable between 1970-
1990. Although the species declined in Finland and Sweden during 1990-2000, the
trend of the stronghold population in Russia was unknown, and there was no evidence
to suggest that the species declined overall.
Rustic Bunting status Least Concern


All populations migratory. Western birds head east then south, and eastern birds head south or south-west, to reach winter quarters via south-east Russia and north-east China. Winters mainly in China and Japan.
Migration prolonged in both seasons. In autumn, begins in August in northern Europe. Birds leave Sweden end of August to September. In Leningrad region, movement probably begins in last third of August, and peaks early or midSeptember; main migration ends in early October, with stragglers throughout month. Arrives in north-east China and Japan from mid-October. In spring, migrates through north-east China from late February, mostly to end of March, with small numbers to mid-April. In Leningrad region, passage usually begins in late April, but local birds arrive with main movement, in early May. First arrivals in southern Finland in early May, occasionally late April. Vagrant west and south of range both seasons in Europe. In Britain, now occurs annually; recorded in almost all months, suggesting some may overwinter.

Distribution map

Rustic Bunting distribution range map

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