Fun Corn Bunting Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Nov 15, 2022 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 18, 2021
Edited by Isobel Murphy
Fact-checked by Kidadl Team
Corn bunting facts are all about singing birds.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 5.9 Min

One of the largest birds in the bunting family, the corn bunting is an Old World songbird that extensively feeds on seeds. During the warm summer season, this bird meddles in open farmlands whereas, in winter times it prefers weedy fields, root crops, cattle yards, and stubbles. Also, they tend to form flocks, particularly during winter, when they cover short distances to travel to the south. Have you ever listened to a corn bunting song? Males emit a high-pitched metallic sound quite similar to the clanging sounds of metallic instruments.

However, some potential threats have been identified for this bird. Harmful agricultural practices, habitat destruction, pollution, and climate change have been regarded as major reasons behind the diminishing population of corn buntings. Their nesting is particularly impacted by the early harvesting of winter crops.

For more relatable content, check out these lark sparrow facts and European starling facts for kids.

Corn Bunting Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a corn bunting?

The corn bunting (Emberiza calandra) is a farmland bird belonging to the family Emberizidae. The species is as common as the house finch, and it is visible mostly foraging in farmland areas with plenty of seeds and grains.

What class of animal does a corn bunting belong to?

Corn buntings come under the Aves class of the genus Emberiza.

How many corn buntings are there in the world?

It has been estimated that the population of mature adults of the species ranges from 180,000,000-319,999,999 worldwide. Although the bird is well dispersed within its geographical range, the corn bunting population has experienced a decline in recent times.

Where does a corn bunting live?

Corn buntings reside in southern and central parts of Europe, north Africa, Asia, and Kazakhstan specifically. During winter, the European population migrates towards the south to avoid the harsh cold winter weather.

What is a corn bunting's habitat?

The typical corn bunting range of habitat covers grassland areas, open farmland regions, cereal fields, hay meadows, and stubble fields as they are birds of the lowland. These buntings can also be found in bushes, but they tend to avoid dense thickets. They prefer roosting in reedbeds.

Who does a corn bunting live with?

Corn buntings can be located dwelling alone as well as with flock members. It's not uncommon to find these buntings in a flock of hundreds.

How long does a corn bunting live?

Corn buntings have a short lifespan as they usually survive for just two to three years.

How do they reproduce?

The breeding season starts late at the end of May and lasts for the next few months. Right at the starting of the breeding season, territories are marked. During this time, a male commonly sits on wires, trees, or poles and bursts out singing. With aerial displays, the male bird tries to impress the female to encourage her to mate. Only females engage in constructing nests made of grass, weeds, and other finer materials. Nesting places are usually on the surface, shrouded by vegetation. After mating, the female incubates the eggs for a period of 12-14 days. The female feeds the chicks until they are ready to fend for themselves. Chicks leave their nest within 9-13 days.

What is their conservation status?

According to records maintained by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, the conservation status of corn buntings (Miliaria calandra) is currently a matter of Least Concern.

Corn Bunting Fun Facts

What do corn buntings look like?

Corn bunting identification is necessary to distinguish this bird from other sparrows and skylarks. Buntings and sparrows look quite alike and the plumage of a swamp sparrow exhibits a similar coloration to that of the corn bunting. Both male and female birds of this species exhibit similarities in appearance, with the main difference being that males are larger than their female counterparts. The primary body color of the species is dark gray-brown with pale buff underparts. This color dulls down towards the tail, with white markings at the edge. White streaks are also present under the throat and chin. They have a short yellow-colored bill and dark brown eyes.

Corn bunting facts are all about this lowland songbird.

How cute are they?

These small birds with ruffled feathers and beautiful color patterns are extremely cute. The little chicks, especially, are just adorable!

How do they communicate?

Apart from singing, these birds produce a variety of sounds. Long rolling sounds like 'tuck-tuck-zick-zick' and 'tik tik zreeississ' and short, repetitive 'pit' and 'quip' sounds have been identified. Singing is identified by a loud metallic sound that is produced by a male to appease a female before breeding. It's part of a romantic display of courtship.

How big is a corn bunting?

The species is the largest among all buntings, with an approximate length of 6.2-7.5 in (16-19cm). They are also larger than grasshopper sparrows, measuring in the range of 4.3-4.5 in (10.8-11.5 cm).

How fast can a corn bunting fly?

The speed capabilities of these birds are yet to be deciphered with accuracy. However, snow buntings can reach a speed of 28 mph (45 kph). It can be assumed that corn buntings of both sexes can reach a similar speed since they belong to the same bunting family.

How much does a corn bunting weigh?

These birds have an average weight of around 1.2-2 oz (35-56 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

Males are called 'cocks', while females are referred to as 'hens'.

What would you call a baby corn bunting?

A baby corn bunting is normally described as a chick, hatchling, or nestling.

What do they eat?

The typical corn bunting diet is composed of seeds and insects. These birds primarily feed on cereal grains and seeds extracted from harvested crops, weeds, grass, and plants. However, they also gobble up invertebrates like millipedes, butterflies, small spiders, slugs, earthworms, and snails (especially while nesting).

Are they dangerous?

Corn buntings can exhibit aggressive behavior while defending their territory, but they're not violent towards humans.

Would they make a good pet?

These farmland birds can be easily spotted in fields. but these birds must not be estranged from their habitat and enclosed in cages.

Did you know...

A total of 44 bunting species have been identified, each capable of crooning melodious songs. A bunting doesn't just sing one song though; it can sing 200 songs in only one hour, particularly at dawn!

Apart from the common scientific name, Emberiza calandra, other names for the corn bunting bird are Emberiza miliaria, Miliaria minor, and Miliaria calandra.

Interestingly, males continue singing their song when their chicks are feeding with the help of their mothers.

How does the corn bunting differ from other buntings?

In comparison to the snow bunting, corn buntings are larger in size. Their white shades are also more pronounced with a lighter brown hue in the former, whereas the latter has a darker brown-gray color. On the other hand, the critically endangered yellow-breasted buntings possess distinct vibrant yellow underparts. Lark buntings lack the brown color and are entirely black with white streaks on their wings and a bluish bill. The most prominent difference that sets the corn bunting species apart is its size as the bird is the largest among the European population of buntings.

How high can they fly?

The upper elevation limit of the bird is 1,640 ft (500 m). The species can be found hopping around more often than flying. Only while navigating or catching insects does the bird enter into short flights.

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 metallic starling facts and violet-backed starling facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable bunting bird coloring pages.

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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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