Family Old World Buntings (Emberizidae)

Least Concern

Chestnut-eared Bunting (Emberiza fucata)


French: Bruant à oreillons German: Bandammer Spanish: Escribano orejudo

Emberiza fucata


, 1776,

at Onon and Ingoda Rivers, near Chilka, Chita, south-eastern Siberia, Russia


Recent phylogenetic analysis#R supports earlier suggestion that this species is sister of E. calandra. Proposed race fluviatilis (described from Zhenjiang, in Jiangsu, in E China) treated as synonymous with kuatunensis. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • E. f. fucata Pallas, 1776 – E Mongolia (Khangai, Khentii and Khyangan) and SE Transbaikalia E to SE Russia (Amurland, S Khabarovsk, S Ussuriland), NE China (Heilongjiang), Sakhalin, Korea and Japan (S Kurils, and Hokkaido S to C Honshu, Kyushu); winters in S Japan (S from C Honshu), S Korea, S China, including Hainan, and, rarely, Taiwan.
  • E. f. kuatunensis La Touche, 1925 – E China (Zhejiang and Fujian); winters to SE China, Bangladesh, N & C Myanmar and N Indochina.
  • E. f. arcuata Sharpe, 1888 – Himalayas from N Pakistan E to W Nepal and S China (N Yunnan); winters lower in W Himalayas.
  • Descriptive notes

    16 cm; 14–21 g. Medium-sized bunting, adult with distinctive facial pattern and double breastband. Male nominate race breeding (worn plumage) has dark-streaked grey... read more


    Song, from top of shrub or weed, is twittering and more rapid than that of sympatric buntings,... read more


    Scrubby hillsides, open areas near marshy fields and wetland fringes, rich floodplain meadows with... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet consists of grass seeds and some insects. Forages on ground. Usually singly or in small parties of up to five individuals. In non-... read more


    Start of breeding May or early Jun, with late broods during Aug in N of range; two broods in a season. Nest built from dry grass blades,... read more


    Migratory. N populations (nominate race) winter in S Korea, S Japan, Taiwan and S China, including... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Widespread, but rather uncommon. Global population not quantified; believed to be stable, as no local declines or substantial threats... read more

    Recommended citation

    Copete, J.L. (2020). Chestnut-eared Bunting (Emberiza fucata). 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 19 February 2020).