523. LITTLE BUNTING.
Emberiza pusilla, Pall. Reise Russ. Reichs, iii. p. 697 (1776) ; Naum, xiii. 2, p. 175, Taf. 382, figs. 3, 4 ; Gould, B. of Gt, Brit. iii. pl. 25 ; id. B. of Asia, v. pl. 7 ; Newton, ii. p. 4 ; Dresser, iv. p. 235, pl. 220 ; David and Oust. Ois. Chine, p. 323 ; Sharpe, Cat. B. Br. Mus. xii. p. 487 ; Oates, F. Brit. Ind. Birds, ii. p. 254 ; Tacz. F. O. Sib. O. p. 594 ; Saunders, p. 210 ; Lilford, iv. p. 22, pl. 12.
Zigolo minore, Ital. ; Zwergammer, German ; Dwerggors, Dutch ; Dvoergverling, Dan. ; Vahasirkku, Finn.
Male ad. (N. Russia). Crown, nape, and sides of the head, including the ear-coverts and lores, chestnut-red ; sides of the crown extending behind the ear-coverts black ; upper parts greyish wood-brown, streaked with black, the rump greyer ; rectrices and remiges dark brown, margined with rusty buff ; the outer rectrix with a large and the second with a small white stripe ; chin rusty buff ; the rest of the under parts white, the breast spotted, the flanks striped with blackish brown, the latter slightly washed with buff ; bill horn-brown, paler below ; legs brown ; iris dark brown. Culmen 0.35, wing 2.8, tail 2.35, tarsus 0.75 inch. The female differs in being duller in colour, and in having the under parts more densely spotted.
Hab. N. Russia as far west as Onega, and east right across Siberia to the Amoor ; on passage, and in winter in Manchuria, Mongolia, China, Burma, the Andamans, the Himalayas from the Sutlej valley to Assam ; strays to Europe where it has been obtained in S. Sweden, Germany, Holland, Belgium, S. France, Italy, Austria, Turkey, Asia Minor, Syria, twice in Algeria, and has occurred twice in England.
Frequents the forest and also bush-covered plains, and is said to be tame and confiding in its habits. As a rule it appears like E. rustica, to prefer the damp portions of the forest. In the summer it feeds chiefly on insects, but in the autumn and winter on seeds. Its call or alarm-note is a low tick, tick, tick, and its song is varied and melodious, not unlike that of the Redbreast. It breeds in N. Russia as far west as Onega, or probably Archangel, and in Siberia, placing its nest, which is constructed of dry grass sometimes lined with hair, on the ground amongst the grass and moss. The eggs 4 to 6 in number are usually deposited in June, and are subject to considerable variation, some resembling those of E. miliaria, others those of E. schoeniclus, E. spodocephala, and E. rustica, but more brown in tinge. Those I have are pale grey with shell blotches of pale violet-grey and surface-blotches and spots of very dark grey, and measure about 0.74 by 0.55.
523. Emberiza pusilla
523. LITTLE BUNTING.