British wildlife recordings

Emberiza schoeniclus : Reed Bunting - Emberizidae; Emberiza cirlus : Cirl Bunting - Emberizidae

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  • Shelf mark

    W1CDR0001429 BD3

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  • Recording date


  • Recording locations

    OS Grid Reference(258500,80500)

  • Recordist

    Shove, Lawrence

  • Species

    Reed Bunting, Emberiza schoeniclus & Cirl Bunting, Emberiza cirlus

  • Description

    The call and song of two species of bunting. On first glance, the reed bunting could be mistaken for a sparrow, but a closer look shows a more contrasting plumage and almost completely black head. It has suffered dramatic population declines so that the characteristic ‘see-oo’ call and ‘tweek tweek tweek tsissick’ song are rarely heard, despite having a range that covers almost the entire British Isles. This population decrease is due to the loss of suitable wetland and farmland habitat and has resulted in the species attaining Red List status. The cirl bunting has an extremely localised range, being found only in the southwest of England, particularly Devon. It can usually be seen over hedged farmland with plenty of trees where it can forage for insects and seeds. As with the reed bunting, this species also has Red List status. A rare garden visitor, male cirl buntings have a striking yellow face streaked with black. The breast is also yellow whilst the brown upper parts are similar to that of other buntings. Its song consists of a rattling trill whilst its call is a much quieter ‘tsip’ or ‘stic’.

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