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Buntings are a group of Eurasian and African passerine birds of the family Emberizidae.

Emberiza citrinella 1 (Marek Szczepanek).jpg
Yellowhammer (Emberiza citrinella)
Scientific classification


They are seed-eating birds with stubby, conical bills, and are the Old World equivalents of the species known in North America as (American) sparrows. (However, these birds are not closely related to the Old World sparrows which are in the family Passeridae.)

Some emberizids are still named "finches" rather than "buntings". Conversely, there are New World species retaining the name "bunting" which are now classed in the family Cardinalidae. Among those are the painted and indigo buntings.


Genera and speciesEdit

In taxonomic order (but see Systematics section below).

The lark bunting (Calamospiza melanocorys) is an American sparrow.

The Lapland bunting (Calcarius lapponicus) is also known as Lapland longspur, and is considered under longspurs, and also placed in a separate family Calcariidae.[1]

Clade A - Emberiza species: tristrami, variabilis, chrysophrys, aureola, pusilla, rutila, rustica, sulphurata, spodocephala, schoeniclus, pallasi, yessoensis, elegans, with "Latoucheornis" siemsseni.

Clade B - Emberiza species: leucocephalos, citrinella, stewarti, cirlus, hortulana, caesia, buchanani, cia, godlewskii, cioides, jankowskii, fucata, with "Miliaria" calandra.

Clade C - Emberiza species: melanocephala, bruniceps with "Melophus" lathami.

Clade D - Emberiza species: striolata, tahapisi, impetuana, capensis, flaviventris, cabanisi.

Buntings not yet tested and therefore still to be placed in this scheme include Emberiza species koslowi & cineracea (probably in clade B), and sahari, socotrana, poliopleura, and affinis (probably in clade D).


  1. ^ a b Per Alström; Urban Olsson; Fumin Lei; Hai-tao Wang; Wei Gao; Per Sundberg (2008). "Phylogeny and classification of the Old World Emberizini (Aves, Passeriformes)". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 47 (3): 960–73. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2007.12.007. PMID 18411062.


Buntings and Sparrows - A Guide to the Buntings and North American Sparrows by Urban Olsson and Jon Curson, illustrated by Clive Byers (1995) ISBN 1-873403-19-4

External linksEdit