Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Bunting, the popular name of any bird or species of the family Emberizidae, ranging over the palaearctic region to India in the winter. Buntings are chiefly distinguished from the Finches by the presence of a palatal knob on the upper mandible, the lower mandible being compressed at the side so as to form a sort of anvil on which this knob works crushing the grain and seeds which form the prmcipal food of these birds. Of this family four are resident in Britain: (1) Emberiza miliaris, the Common or Corn Bunting or Bunting Lark, most numerous in the southern counties, is rather more than seven inches long; plumage brown, with markings of a darker shade on the upper surface, brownish-white beneath with spots of dark-brown on the neck and throat. The nest is usually in or on the ground; eggs four to six, dull purplish-white. (2) E. cirlus, the Cirl Bunting, found locally near the south coast, is a rarer bird, and somewhat smaller; general plumage resembling that of the Yellow Bunting; head dark olive, streaked with black and yellow. (3) E. citrinella, the Yellow Bunting, Yellow Hammer (prop. Yellow Ammer, i.e. the Yellow Chirper), is one of the commonest British birds; length, seven in.; plumage, shades of yellow, marked and mottled with brown, the mottlings becoming darker in the winter. The nest is usually on or near the ground, and the male is said to take part in incubation; eggs four to five, purplish-white, veined with purple. This bird may be reckoned among the farmer's friends, from the quantity of insects it destroys and the multitudes of seeds of noxious weeds it consumes. (4) E. schoeniclus, the Reed Bunting, or Reed Sparrow, sometimes wrongly called the Blackheaded Bunting, is found in marshy situations, usually nesting among long grass; eggs five to seven, clay-colour, marked with purple-brown or black. Length, six inches; head black, with white collar; plumage of upper surface dark, feathers of back and wings edged with bright bay; chin and throat black; under surface, white, streaked with brown on sides. The Buntings that visit Britain more or less frequently are E. rustica, the Rustic Bunting, and E. pusilla, the Little Bunting, from the north-east of Europe and Asia; E. hortulanus, the Ortolan (q.v.); Plectrophanes nivalis, the Snow Bunting (q.v.), with its congener E. lapponicus, the Lapland Bunting; and Euspiza melanocephala, the Black-headed Bunting, from the south-east of Europe and Asia. E. americana, an American form, differs little from the common Bunting.