Barn Owl
Blackbird
Blackcap
Black-headed Gull
Black Redstart
Blue Tit
Brambling
Bullfinch
Buzzard
Carrion Crow
Chaffinch
Chiffchaff
Coal Tit
Collared Dove
Common Gull
Coot
Crested Tit
Crossbill
Cuckoo
Dunnock
Feral Pigeon
Fieldfare
Garden Warbler
Goldcrest
Goldfinch
Goshawk
Great Black-backed Gull
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Great Tit
Greenfinch
Green Woodpecker
Grey Heron
Grey Partridge
Grey Wagtail
Hawfinch
Herring Gull
Hoopoe
House Martin
House Sparrow
Jackdaw
Jay
Kestrel
Kingfisher
Lapwing
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Lesser Spotted Woodpecker
Lesser Whitethroat
Linnet
Little Owl
Long-eared Owl
Long-tailed Tit
Magpie
Mallard
Marsh Tit
Meadow Pipit
Mistle Thrush
Moorhen
Nightingale
Nuthatch
Peregrine
Pheasant
Pied Flycatcher
Pied Wagtail
Quail
Raven
Red Kite
Red-legged Partridge
Redpoll
Redstart
Redwing
Reed Bunting
Ring-necked Parakeet
Robin
Rook
Sand Martin
Serin
Short-eared Owl
Siskin
Skylark
Song Thrush
Sparrowhawk
Spotted Flycatcher
Starling
Stock Dove
Stonechat
Swallow
Swift
Tawny Owl
Treecreeper
Tree Sparrow
Turtle Dove
Waxwing
Whinchat
Whitethroat
Willow Tit
Willow Warbler
Wood Pigeon
Wren
Yellow Wagtail
Yellowhammer

British Garden Birds Logo Home page. Bird identification guide. Site map. Discussion board. Articles on birds and birdwatching. Having problems? Search this website. Photograph album. Guestbook for your comments. News about the birds in my garden. Contact us. Test your identification skills. About this website. Field trip reports. Links to other websites. Awards won by this website. British Garden Birds Navigation Map

Reed Bunting

Common Reed Bunting Male Reed Bunting Male
Upperparts are brown with dark streaking. Black head and throat with white collar.
Distribution map - when and where you are most likely to see the species.
Emberiza schoeniclus
Length: 15-16 cm  (6-6½")
Wing Span: 21-25 cm  (8-10")
Weight: 15-21 g  (½-¾ oz) Female Reed Bunting Female
Like the male but with brown head and throat and no white collar.
Breeding Pairs: 220 000
Present: All Year
Status: Amber

Description

The Reed Bunting is a bunting of similar size and appearance to a House Sparrow, but the underparts are streaked and the outer tail feathers are white. The legs and bill are dark brown.

The male Reed Bunting has a dark head and bib, which are black in the summer and dull brown in winter. A broad white collar is evident in the summer as is a thin white moustache (which can also be seen in winter, but is more buff coloured).

The female can be confused with the female House Sparrow, which has a shorter tail, and the female Yellowhammer, which has no moustache. The female has a brown head, buff throat and buff-coloured lines above and below the eye.

Juveniles are similar to the female but yellowier and more darkly streaked.

In flight, the outer white tail feathers are noticeable.

Voice

Choose from Quicktime and mp3. Song
  Quicktime mp3

The Reed Bunting's song is a rather dreary staccato chirrup that is often written as "tweek, tweek, tititweek". Personally, I remember it as "tree, tree, top of tree" because it is usually delivers its song from a perch at the top of a tree, bush or reed.

Feeding

Reed Buntings are traditionally birds of reed beds and wetlands where they feed on seeds and invertebrates during the breeding season, but they have started to visit gardens.

Nesting

The nest is a cup of grass and moss built on the ground but usually among reeds or grasses in a wet or marshy place. Fine grasses and hair are used to line the cup.

The female incubates the eggs (20 mm by 15 mm), which are smooth, glossy and pale lilac or olive with black scrawls or blotches. The young are fed by both parents.

Breeding Data
Breeding Starts Number of Clutches Number of Eggs Incubation (days) Fledge (days)
April-May 2-3 4-7 12-14 10-13

Movements

British birds are mostly sedentary, but upland birds move to lower ground for the winter and a small number reach France, and the residents are joined by others from northern Europe for the winter.

Conservation

The Reed Bunting is an Amber List species because it is recovering from a severe population decline that started in the 1970's, which was a result of increased egg failures and poor survival rates among fledglings.

My Garden

Graph of garden visits.

I have occasionally seen up to two Reed Buntings among the scrub in my local patch during the winter, but was pleasantly surprised when a male spent some time in the garden (February 2003).


Last revision: 21 Feb 2015
Copyright © David Gains 1999-2017.
Fatbirder's Top 1000 Birding Websites