1123. Emberiza leucocephala

(1123) Emberiza leucocephala.

The Pine-Bunting.

Emberiza leucocephala Gmelin, Nov. Comm. Acad. Sci. Imp. Petrop., xv, p. 480 (1771) (Astrakan); Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 254.

Vernacular names. None recorded.

Description. - Male. Centre of crown to nape white, with a broad blackish band on either side; forehead mixed rufous and black; lores, round the eye and a broad supercilium chestnut; hind neck ashy-rufous turning to rufous, boldly streaked with black on the back and scapulars; rump and upper tail-coverts rufous, nearly always showing some faint traces of white margins ; tail dark brown, narrowly edged with pale fulvous : two outermost pairs with large oblique patches of white on the inner webs and narrow white edges to the outer webs; ear-coverts white, bordered with blackish-brown; chin, throat and fore-neck rufous; lesser wine;-coverts rufous with black central marks; greater and median coverts black with broad rufous edges; primaries brown edged with whitish, secondaries darker brown edged with rufous ; lower plumage white, the bases of the feathers on the breast rufous and, when abraded, practically all of this colour; sides and flunks streaked with rufous; axillaries and under wing-coverts white.

Colours of soft parts. Iris dark brown; upper mandible dark horny-brown, the base and gape yellowish; lower mandible pale yellowish-horn or " bluish-horny" {Hume); legs and feet fleshy-yellow to pale horny-brown.

Measurements. Total length about 170 mm.; wing 88 to 96 mm.; tail 78 to 82 mm.; tarsus about 20 mm. ; culmen about 10 to 11 mm.

The Male after the moult has the whole head ashy streaked with brown, the white bases hardly showing, the rump and breast are much more white.

Female. A ring round the eye white; crown and sides of head ashy-brown with central dark streaks; a broad patch from the bill to behind the ear-coverts whitish, with a narrow black moustachial streak below it; back, wings and tail as in the male but duller; below white, the breast and flanks more or less rufescent and streaked with brown. The Young male resembles the female.

Distribution. Breeding in Northern Asia from the Urals to Manchuria and Northern China. Central Asia, possibly breeding, and in Winter to Afghanistan, Baluchistan, Gilgit and Kashmir to Mussoorie, Simla and Garhwal. Whitehead obtained it at 2,000 feet round Kohat.

Nidification. In Siberia the Pine-Bunting is said to breed on the outskirts of forests or in bush-covered plains, making the usual unting's nest of grass lined with finer grass or hair. The eggs which number three to five or, rarely, six, vary considerably. The ground-colour ranges from almost pure white to rather dark dull reddish-stone: in some the tint is violet or greenish. The markings consist of streaks and hair-lines of deep red-brown, purple-brown or blackish and there are nearly always a number of grey and neutral tint underlying blotches. One hundred eggs-average 21.5 x 16.1 mm.: maxima 23.3 X 16.7 and 23.0 x 17.3 mm.; minima 19.0 X 16.3 and 19.6 x 14.2 mm. The breeding-season is May and June, second broods being raised in July and August.

Habits. In habits this Bunting is said to be very like the Yellow - Hammer, a bird of open country but perching much on trees and with a loud, melodious note though practically no song. It is a Winter visitor to Gilgit, North-West Kashmir down the North-West Frontier and as far East as the Simla States and Garhwal,

The Fauna Of British India, Including Ceylon And Burma-birds(second Edition)
Baker, EC S (1922–1930) The fauna of British India including Ceylon and Burma. Second edition. vol.3 1926.
Title in Book: 
1123. Emberiza leucocephala
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
Page No: 
Common name: 
Pine Bunting
Pine Bunting
Emberiza leucocephalos
Vol. 3

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Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith