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Species Guide
A photo of a Little Bunting (Emberiza pusilla)
Little Bunting

Little Bunting

Emberiza pusilla

The Little Bunting (Emberiza pusilla) is a diminutive member of the bunting family, Emberizidae. It is a small bird, with a length ranging from 12 to 14 centimeters. The plumage features white underparts with dark streaking on the breast and sides. A chestnut face is adorned with a white malar stripe, and the bird has black crown stripes, a white eye-ring, and a fine dark border to the rear of its chestnut cheeks. Both sexes present a similar appearance.

Identification Tips

When identifying the Little Bunting, look for its small size and the distinctive chestnut face with a white malar stripe. The black crown stripes and white eye-ring are key features, as is the fine dark border at the rear of the cheeks. The underparts are white with dark streaking, which can be observed on the breast and sides.


The Little Bunting breeds in the open coniferous woodlands of the taiga, often with an interspersion of birch or willow trees.


This species has a broad Palearctic range, breeding in the far north-east of Europe and across northern Eurosiberia to the Russian Far East. It is migratory, spending winters in the subtropics of northern India, southern China, and the northern regions of Southeast Asia. The Little Bunting is a rare vagrant to western Europe.


The Little Bunting is a migratory bird that remains in its winter quarters for extended periods. It is adaptable and can be found in various habitats, including agricultural areas in the mountains of Bhutan, typically between 1,000 and 2,000 meters above sea level.

Song & Calls

The call of the Little Bunting is a distinctive "zik," while its song is a rolling "siroo-sir-sir-siroo."


Breeding occurs in open coniferous woodland, with nests typically constructed in trees. The clutch usually consists of four to six eggs.

Diet and Feeding

The natural diet of the Little Bunting consists of seeds. However, when feeding young, the diet shifts to insects to provide the necessary protein.

Conservation Status

The Little Bunting is classified as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List, indicating that it is not currently considered threatened.

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Little Buntings on Birda


More Buntings

A photo of a Yellow-breasted Bunting (Emberiza aureola) , male

Yellow-breasted Bunting

Emberiza aureola
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