Ortolan Bunting

Ortolan Bunting
Ortolan Bunting Emberiza hortulana, Altai Mountains, Xinjiang, elev. 1420 m (4,660 ft.), July. (Craig Brelsford)

Ortolan Bunting Emberiza hortulana breeds patchily from Spain to Mongolia, in China in northern Xinjiang around Altai Mountains. Winters sub-Saharan Africa. HABITAT Open, dry areas with scattered bushes or thickets. ID & COMPARISON Distinguished from Grey-necked Bunting E. buchanani by olive (not blue-grey) hood that extends farther down breast; yellowish (not buffish) malar stripe, chin, and eye-ring; darker streaking on mantle; slightly larger size and shorter tail; and darker and more arched culmen. VOICE Song 4–7 ringing notes with emphasis usually on the last or next-to-last note. Short calls quip and chu. — Craig Brelsford


shanghaibirding.com has research on most of the buntings of China. Click any link:

Crested Bunting Emberiza lathami
Yellowhammer E. citrinella
Pine Bunting E. leucocephalos
Rock Bunting E. cia
Godlewski’s Bunting E. godlewskii
Meadow Bunting E. cioides
Jankowski’s Bunting E. jankowskii
Grey-necked Bunting E. buchanani
Ortolan Bunting E. hortulana
Tristram’s Bunting E. tristrami
Chestnut-eared Bunting E. fucata
Little Bunting E. pusilla
Yellow-browed Bunting E. chrysophrys
Rustic Bunting E. rustica
Yellow-throated Bunting E. elegans
Yellow-breasted Bunting E. aureola
Chestnut Bunting E. rutila
Tibetan Bunting E. koslowi
Black-headed Bunting E. melanocephala
Red-headed Bunting E. bruniceps
Yellow Bunting E. sulphurata
Black-faced Bunting E. spodocephala
Masked Bunting E. personata
Pallas’s Reed Bunting E. pallasi
Japanese Reed Bunting E. yessoensis
Common Reed Bunting E. schoeniclus


Daniel Bengtsson served as chief ornithological consultant for Craig Brelsford’s Photographic Field Guide to the Birds of China, from which this species description is drawn.

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