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The little bunting (Emberiza pusilla) is one of the Passeriformes of the world, meaning it is a perching bird. The identification of these birds includes looking for their heavily streaked, pale chestnut or brown colored body and white underparts. The head is small with dark brown or black colored crown stripes that become more prominent during the breeding season. This member of the family Emberizidae also has a small bill, small legs, and average wingspan.
The habitats of these birds are usually found in north-eastern Europe, India and northern Southeast Asia. The European populations of these birds migrate in a group of about 10-12 birds during the winter season, while the Asiatic birds are year-long residents. While this species resembles sparrows, some of their features stand out quite a bit such as this bird has a white stripe that runs through the side of the moustache region on its face.
The little bunting is a bird species from the order of Passeriformes, from the family Emberizidae. Other birds in this family include sparrows. Buntings are mistaken for finches, however a bunting bird has a different bill, a longer body, a flatter head, and a longer tail.
In scientific terms, the class that the little bunting is associated with is Aves, which we know as birds.
How many little buntings are there in the world?
There are no recent surveys or studies regarding the current population size of the little bunting species (family Emberizidae), however, it is clear from their conservation status and the fact they are fairly common in their range map or areas of distribution that the population is stable.
The little bunting (Emberiza pusilla) prefers habitats that consist of birch and spruce forests. They frequent conifer forests or taiga for breeding and feeding.
The little bunting range map consists of northern parts of Europe, northern Euro-Siberia, far east Russia, Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent. The populations from Europe are migratory, while those from India and Southeast Asia are year-long residents.
Little buntings are usually solitary as these dark brown birds are mostly found alone or in mated pairs. They are territorial during the breeding season, however, the behavior patterns beyond that are only based on assumptions.
The little bunting migrate in small groups of about 10-12 birds during the winters, but large flocks of this species are hardly ever seen.
While the average lifespan of the little bunting species is not known, we do know that snow buntings can live for up to nine years. Since they are a related species and have approximately the same size and features, it is safe to assume that the average lifespan of the little bunting will also be around this number.
The breeding season for this bird species starts in early June and often runs into August. The little bunting female lays only one brood per year, which consists of two to four eggs. Each little bunting egg is gray or pale pink in color and has small marks all over it.
During the breeding season, the plumage of both male and female little buntings become very vibrant. Their heavily streaked heads become more prominent and the male courts the female by pulling its tail up, revealing the streaking. Courting also involves a very beautiful song which the male sings for the female bird.
The female, on the other hand, is responsible for making the nest. The nest is usually built on the ground and sometimes on the branch of trees. The female makes sure that the nest is concealed as she incubates the eggs alone. During the incubation period, the little bunting male becomes very territorial and guards the mother bird. Little baby bunting birds are fed by both parents until they are capable of finding their own prey.
According to the IUCN, the conservation status of the little bunting (Emberiza pusilla) is Least Concern. This means that the population size of this species is stable and the habitat range faces no immediate threat of degradation.
The little bunting appearance makes the identification of this species very easy. These birds have a pale chestnut colored crown and a brown colored body. The crown and body is loaded with dark brown or black colored streaking. The underparts and throat of these birds are white in color, creating a sharp contrast with the otherwise brown colored body. A stripe runs through the side of the moustache region which carves out pale buff colored cheeks. The tail is of medium length and it is pulled up to either show aggression or during the courting period. The face of these birds is also beautified by dark red-brown eyes and it has a small bill. Both sexes look similar and cannot be distinguished on the basis of appearance. These birds also have an eyering which makes the streaking even more prominent.
With a small, streaked head with black crown stripes, cheek stripes, white underparts and small bill, the little bunting species is extremely adorable. The best part about them being so beautiful is that these birds are fairly common, so you might just happen to spot one of these sparrow-like birds as they forage through their habitat range.
The sound or call of a little bunting is somewhat similar to a sparrow. When agitated, these birds let out a short, harsh chip. However, during the breeding season, the calls of a male little bunting can be very melodious and soothing.
The average length of the little bunting bird from head to tail is around 4.7-5.5 in (12-14 cm). A thick-billed parrot can be almost thrice the size of these birds, while the size of a bean goose can be almost seven times as a little bunting bird.
While the speed of the little bunting flight is not known, we do know that they are capable of fairly good flight since a little bunting wing is strong. These birds have an average wingspan and a light-weighted body. They are also migratory which requires a certain proficiency of flight.
The little bunting bird can weigh in the range of 0.4-0.6 oz (12-19 g). A lark sparrow can weigh twice as much as our friendly little buntings.
There are no distinguished names for male and female little buntings. We can call them a male little bunting and a female little bunting.
A baby little bunting is called a chick, the same name given to all the juveniles in the class Aves.
Little bunting birds usually forage on the ground using their legs, while they sometimes also feed from low plants and foliage. Their diet consists of insects, small invertebrates, and seeds. They mostly feed on seeds during the winters, while invertebrates form a part of their diet throughout the year. The reed bunting bird, a related species to the little bunting, has a similar diet.
There are no records that suggest that these chestnut brown colored birds are dangerous in any way. Their small size hardly paints a terrifying picture. If anything, they are a little aggressive during the breeding season. Other than that, they are the most beautiful solitary birds.
While it is obvious that their dark chestnut-brown colored striped cheeks and black colored crowns would make anyone want to have little buntings as a pet, it is fairly uncommon to do so. This species is adapted to living in the wild and it would be difficult to keep them in captivity. Also, they are migratory birds and fly around the world which we cannot replicate in a domestic setting.
The little bunting breeds during the months of June and July, although, it may also breed during August. The male little bunting song can be heard during this time of the year.
This small bunting species belongs to the family Emberizidae and their diet consists of seeds and insects.
The striped crown, white throat, and white underparts become more vibrant during the breeding season.
This species is characterized by a dark brown cheek stripe and a sparrow-like call.
Little buntings can only be found in a group only during winter migration.
Little buntings that live in Europe show migratory habits. Migration happens during the winter season and they form a small group of about 10-12 birds fly around the world to move towards warmer areas.
Little bunting birds are not endangered or rare. In fact, according to surveys, the population size of this bird is stable and their habitat is secure.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds from our Australian pelican facts and northern gannet facts pages.
You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our free printable bunting bird coloring pages.
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