The Emberizinae comprise the Buntings, a very large group of birds spread over an enormous portion of the world's surface, of which 16 species have been found within the limits of this work. The great majority of Buntings are migratory, a few locally migratory, breeding in the Himalayas and wintering in the Plains, whilst yet fewer are sedentary.
The Buntings have a conical and sharply-pointed bill, with the culmen straight or nearly so ; the edges of the two mandibles, however, unlike those of other Fringillidae, are not in contact throughout their length, but show a gap about midway between the gape and the tips. The upper mandible, moreover, has the palate furnished with a small hard process or knob. With this exception the Buntings conform in structure with the Finches. Like them they have a double plumage, caused in most cases by abrasion in Spring, though a few species' have also a partial Spring moult.
Key to Genera.
A. No crest Emberiza, p. 195.
B. A well-developed crest Melophus, p, 220.