Emberiza cia, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 310 (1766) ; Naum. iv. p. 270, Taf. 104, figs. 1, 2 ; Gould. B. of E. iii. pl. 179 ; Dresser, iv. p. 205, pl. 214 ; Sharpe, Cat. B. Br. Mus. xii. p. 537.
Bruant-fou. French ; Trigueiro, Portug. ; Cip-cip, Ave-tonta, Span. ; Zigolo-muciatto, Ital. ; Zipammer, German ; Gornaya- ovsyanka, Russ.
Male ad. (Spain). Crown and nape blue-grey, the sides of the former, line enclosing the eye passing above the ear-coverts, and a moustachial streak black ; supercilium greyish white ; back warm fulvous streaked with dark brown ; rump cinnamon ; wings brown with dull white margins to the primaries, and broad cinnamon to the inner secondaries ; lesser wing-coverts washed with blue-grey, the median tipped with white ; tail blackish brown with cinnamon margins, the two outer rectrices chiefly white ; throat, neck, and sides of the face pale bluish grey ; breast and abdomen cinnamon, the middle of the latter greyish white ; bill dull plumbeous ; legs yellowish brown ; iris dark brown. Culmen 0.5, wing 3.1, tail 3.0, tarsus 0.5 inch. The female is much duller in colour than the male. In the winter the colours of both sexes are obscured by fulvous margins to the feathers.
Hab. Central and southern Europe, west to Portugal, east to Asia Minor, Palestine, Persia, and Afghanistan, wintering in N. Africa.
In general habits it resembles E. citrinella but affects barren dry places and hill-sides where low bushes are scattered about. Its call-note zi-zi-zi is uttered from the top of a bush or rock, and its song is like that of E. citrinella, but if anything, some¬what clearer. It feeds on insects and seeds of various kinds, in the winter almost exclusively on the latter. Its nest is like that of the Yellowhammer and is placed on the ground usually amongst stones, and the eggs, 4 or 5 in number, are pale grey or buffy grey marked, chiefly round the larger end, with irregular blackish brown wavy lines which look as if drawn with a pen. In size they average about 0.82 by 0.65. The eggs are usually deposited late in May or in June.
529. Emberiza cia