Family Old World Buntings (Emberizidae)

Least Concern

Cabanis's Bunting (Emberiza cabanisi)


French: Bruant de Cabanis German: Cabanisammer Spanish: Escribano de Cabanis

Polymitra (Fringillaria) cabanisi


, 1875,



Sometimes placed in genus Fringillaria. Race orientalis considered by some to represent a separate species, and cognominata sometimes synonymized with it. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • E. c. cabanisi (Reichenow, 1875) – Cabanis's Bunting – W Africa locally from Guinea and Sierra Leone E to Cameroon, N DRCongo, S South Sudan and NW Uganda.
  • E. c. cognominata (Grote, 1931) – C Africa from S Gabon, Congo and Angola E to W Zambia and W & C Zimbabwe.
  • E. c. orientalis (Shelley, 1882) – Three-streaked Bunting – Tanzania S to E Zambia, Malawi, E Zimbabwe and Mozambique.
  • Descriptive notes

    16–17 cm; 18–27 g. A fairly large bunting with mostly dark head. Male nominate race has dark crown (little evidence of paler median stripe), white supercilium,... read more


    Male song varied, typically a repeated series of sweet, clear whistles, often reminiscent of that... read more


    Broadleaf woodland and well-wooded savanna, including guinean savanna in W Africa and miombo (... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet mainly insects, especially small grasshoppers (Orthoptera), and grass seeds; also other insects, including beetle larvae (Coleoptera... read more


    Season Jul–Aug in W Africa and Sept–Mar (mainly Oct–Nov) in SC Africa. Monogamous. Solitary nester. Nest constructed by female, male... read more


    Largely resident, subject to local movements in relation to drought. Listed as a summer visitor (... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Scarce or uncommon through much of its range; locally common in some areas.

    Recommended citation

    Ryan, P. (2020). Cabanis's Bunting (Emberiza cabanisi). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 16 February 2020).