Family Old World Buntings (Emberizidae)

Least Concern

Godlewski's Bunting (Emberiza godlewskii)


French: Bruant de Godlewski German: Felsenammer Spanish: Escribano de Godlewski

Emberiza godlewskii


, 1874,

southern Dauria and Kultuk, Mongolia [= southern Lake Baikal, Russia]


Formerly treated as conspecific with E. cia; races stracheyi and flemingorum of latter sometimes still placed in present species. Recent phylogenetic analysis indicated that, according to cytochrome b tree, interrelationships among present species, E. cia and E. cioides are unresolved; still more recent analysis suggests that nominate race, decolorata and omissa are genetically closer to E. jankowskii and E. cioides than they are to S races yunnanensis and khamensis, but integrative study required before changes made to current arrangement#R. Proposed races nanshanica, described from C China (R Churmyk, basin of upper Hwang He, in E Qinghai), and gobica, from WC Mongolia (S slope of Khangai Mts), synonymized with nominate; also in C China, styani (from Songpan, in W Sichuan) and bangsi (from Pashui, in Shaanxi) are treated as synonyms of omissa. Five subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • E. g. decolorata Sushkin, 1925 – S & E Tien Shan in NW China (W Xinjiang), SE Kazakhstan and E Kyrgyzstan.
  • E. g. godlewskii Taczanowski, 1874 – Godlewski's Bunting – Russian Altai E through Sayan Mts to S end of L Baikal and W Transbaikalia, Mongolia, and N China (S to N & E Qinghai and Gansu).
  • E. g. omissa Rothschild, 1921 – E China from S Heilongjiang S to N & E Sichuan.
  • E. g. khamensis Sushkin, 1925 – SC China from S Qinghai S to S & SE Tibetan Plateau (to Lhasa and Gyantse regions) and W Sichuan (to c. 29° N); recently found breeding in NE Arunachal Pradesh (India)#R.
  • E. g. yunnanensis Sharpe, 1902 – Yunnan Bunting – S China in extreme SE Tibetan Plateau and N Yunnan E to C Sichuan; also NE Myanmar in winter.
  • Descriptive notes

    17 cm; 14–23 g. A fairly large bunting, superficially similar to E. cia. Male nominate race has grey head, throat and breast, broad chestnut lateral... read more


    Song, usually from top of rock or tree, quite variable, apparently begins with much higher-pitched... read more


    Bushy and rocky slopes in mountains and hills, also in ravines, often near forest; avoids higher... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet outside breeding season consists mostly of seeds, especially of grasses (Poaceae); during breeding period a variety of invertebrates.... read more


    In N of range most start to breed from mid-May, a proportion not before end Jun. Nest cup-shaped, with loose structure made from withered... read more


    Resident, with local dispersive movements. Apparently makes altitudinal movements, which could be... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Locally common to fairly common. Global population size not quantified, but numbers thought to be stable in absence of evidence of declines or... read more

    Recommended citation

    Copete, J.L. (2020). Godlewski's Bunting (Emberiza godlewskii). 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).