Family Old World Buntings (Emberizidae)

Least Concern

Cirl Bunting (Emberiza cirlus)


French: Bruant zizi German: Zaunammer Spanish: Escribano soteño

Emberiza Cirlus


, 1766,

southern Europe


Proposed races nigrostriata (described from Ghisonaccia, in Corsica) and portucaliae (from Oporto region, in Portugal) considered to exhibit only very slight differences from birds in rest of range, and insufficient to merit naming of geographical races. Monotypic.


Temperate areas of W & S Europe, NW Africa and Turkey: SW England and NW & C France E to Romania and coastal W & N Turkey, S to Morocco, coastal Algeria and NW Tunisia, and to Mediterranean islands of Balearics, Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily and Crete. Introduced to New Zealand (South I).

Descriptive notes

15–16·5 cm; 20–29 g. Medium-sized slim bunting, slightly smaller than E. citrinella and with proportionately shorter tail. Male breeding (worn... read more


Song, usually from bush, tree or wire, consists of a long trilling rattle, “sre-sre-sre-sre-... read more


Usually linked to areas of bushes and small woodlands surrounded by open landscape, and edges of... read more

Food and feeding

Adults take invertebrates during breeding season, but for most of year feed on seeds of herbs and grasses, preferably couch (Elymus... read more


Season long, first nests started from mid-Apr and last ones during Aug, exceptionally beginning Sept; usually two broods, sometimes three.... read more


Those breeding in N part of range partially migratory; resident in S. Ringing studies have provided... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Locally common; scarce and very local in NW of range. Estimated population in Europe (more than 95% of global range) c. 2,000,000–5,200,000... read more

Recommended citation

Copete, J.L. (2020). Cirl Bunting (Emberiza cirlus). 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 24 February 2020).