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Yellow-breasted Bunting - BirdForum Opus

Photo © by Pavlik
Saratov area, Russia, June 2004
Emberiza aureola


Photo © by BIJ
North Beijing, China, May 2008

14-15.5 cm (5½-6 in)
Breeding Male

  • Dark rufous-brown upperparts and breast band
  • Black face
  • Bright yellow underparts
  • Large white wing patch on lesser and median coverts
  • Pink lower mandible


  • Paler yellow underparts
  • Buffy supercilium
  • Greyish-brown upperparts, heavily streaked
  • Dark rear eyestripe
  • Grey-brown median crown stripe
  • White wing bars
  • Pink lower mandible


2cy male has the white is restricted to the tips of the greater coverts


Non-breeding male
Photo © by TahirAbbas
Head Marala Sialkot, Pakistan, December 2017

Breeds in central and southeastern Finland, although becoming very rare in recent years, and across Russia from about 53N to the southern Kola Peninsula and White Sea. Outside the Western Palearctic breeds widely across Asia to Kamchatka and northern Japan.

Autumn migration begins in late July and August with most birds wintering from eastern Nepal to southern China and Indochina. Spring passage begins in early April and arrives on Western Palearctic breeding grounds in early June.

Numbers have declined catastrophically in recent years, with illegal hunting on the wintering grounds the main cause; the species is now listed as Endangered[2].

A vagrant in Norway, Sweden and in Britain (236 records to 2013) where the vast majority occur in September with most on Shetland, fewer on the east and south coasts. In Britain, formerly an average of six recorded annually, but numbers have declined in recent years in line with global trends, and is now less than annual. Vagrants also recorded in Spain and Portugal, Latvia, Denmark, the Netherlands and Belgium and in October 1991 in Sinai, Egypt.



1st summer male
Photo © by Pavlik
Saratov area. Russia, June 2004

There are 2 subspecies[1]:

  • E. a. aureola:
  • E. a. ornata:
  • Amur River to Manchuria, North Korea, Kamchatka and Kuril Issland


Open areas, usually close to water with dense shrubs and willow and birch scrub, also forest edges and peat bogs.

On passage occurs in cultivated areas, scrubland, sometimes reedbeds.



A ground-nester, laying 4-6 eggs


The diet mainly consists of seeds, but includes insects when rearing a brood.



  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. BirdLife International: Yellow-breasted Bunting#Bird Guides
  3. Collins Bird Guide ISBN 0 00 219728 6
  4. Birdforum thread regarding identification

Recommended Citation

External Links

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