Emberiza hortulana, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 309 (1766) ; Naum. iv. p. 258, Taf. 103, figs. 1, 2, 3 ; Hewitson, i. p. 191, pl. xlviii. fig. 1 ; Gould, B. of E. iii. pl. 176 ; Newton, ii. p. 57 ; Dresser, iv. p. 185, pls. 211, 215, fig. 1 ; Sharpe, Cat. B. Br. Mus. xii. p. 530 ; Oates, F. Brit. Ind. Birds, ii. p. 259 ; Saunders, p. 213 ; Lilford, iv. p. 30, pl. 16.
Bruant-ortolan, French ; Hortelano, Ave-tonta, Span. ; Ortolano, Ital. ; Gartenammer, German ; Ortolan, Dutch ; Hortulan, Dan. and Norw. ; Ortolansparf, Swed. Peltosirkku, Finn. : Sadovaya-ovsyanka, Russ.
Male ad. (Finland). Head greenish grey ; lores, throat, and a ring round the eye lemon-yellow ; upper parts, wing-coverts, and secondaries fulvous brown, the back darker striped ; the larger wing-coverts edged with fulvous white ; rump yellowish brown ; remiges and rectrices dark brown, with dull fulvous margins, the outer tail feathers with large, white apical patches ; fore-breast yellowish green ; rest of under parts tawny chestnut ; bill dull flesh red, paler below ; legs pale fleshy red ; iris brown. Culmen 0.5, wing 3.6, tail 2.9, tarsus 0.75 inch. The female, especially when very old, differs but little from the male, but is somewhat duller and paler in colour. Young birds are dull pale rufous, closely streaked above and below with dark brown.
Hab. Europe generally, breeding as far north as south Varanger, and as far south as Algeria ; Asia as far east as Afghanistan, Turkestan, and Gilgit ; wintering in Africa as far south as Abyssinia. To England it is only a rare straggler, has occurred twice in Scotland and once ? in Ireland.
Frequents the outskirts of woods, bush-covered meadows, and fields, gardens when they are near the woods, fences and bushes on the roadsides and I often saw it sitting on bams and out¬buildings, and in its general habits it reminded me much of E. citrinella. It feeds on insects and seeds, the young birds being fed on the former. Its song which is uttered from a bush, fence, stone, or the roof of a barn is tink, tink, tink, tjorr the last note prolonged and harsh. Nidification begins in May and the nest, which is constructed of grass-bents and rootlets some¬times lined with a few hairs, is placed on the ground, amongst grass or stones, or under bushes or large plants. The eggs 4 or 5 in number are pale ashy grey, sometimes with a russet tinge with pale purplish grey shell markings and blackish brown surface-spots or blotches, with only occasionally a few hieroglyphic scratchy lines, and average about 0.77 by 0.61. In confinement it soon becomes very fat and in southern Europe numbers are netted and fattened for the table.
515. Emberiza hortulana