Family Old World Buntings (Emberizidae)

Least Concern

Cretzschmar's Bunting (Emberiza caesia)


French: Bruant cendrillard German: Grauortolan Spanish: Escribano ceniciento

Emberiza caesia


, 1827,

#R, Kurgos Island, c. 17° N, River Nile, Sudan




SW Albania, most of Greece, Crete, much of coastal W & S Turkey, Cyprus, W Syria, Lebanon, W Jordan, N Israel and Palestine; possibly also NW Iraq. Winters in Sudan both on coast and along Nile Valley and (at least formerly) Eritrea; some reported in S Egypt and NW & SW Saudi Arabia.

Descriptive notes

16 cm; 18·5–23·5 g. Male breeding has grey-blue hood, breast and malar stripe, contrasting orange-rufous lores, chin, throat and submoustachial stripe,... read more


Song, from prominent rock, tree or bush, a short phrase of 3 or 4 notes, “dziree-dziree-... read more


For breeding favours coastal habitats, including small islands, with boulder-strewn hillsides,... read more

Food and feeding

Diet little studied, but known to consist of wide variety of small seeds, especially of grasses (Poaceae); some invertebrates also taken,... read more


Eggs reported from mid-Apr to mid-Jun in Greece and Cyprus; in N Israel, eggs reported as early as late Mar and as late as mid-Jul, with... read more


Migratory; post-breeding movement chiefly to Nile Valley and Red Sea coast of Sudan. Breeding areas... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Locally common, and comparatively numerous throughout much of range; uncommon in Jordan. Global population has been tentatively estimated at between... read more

Recommended citation

Madge, S. (2020). Cretzschmar's Bunting (Emberiza caesia). 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 21 January 2020).