Family Old World Buntings (Emberizidae)

Least Concern

Golden-breasted Bunting (Emberiza flaviventris)


French: Bruant à poitrine dorée German: Gelbbauchammer Spanish: Escribano pechidorado

Emberiza flaviventris


, 1815,

Cape of Good Hope, South Africa


Sometimes placed in genus Fringillaria. Geographical limits between some races disputed; proposed races kalaharica (described from Tsotsoronga Pan, in NE Botswana) and carychroa (Langata Forest, in SC Kenya) here included in nominate. Designated type locality of species may be in error, as no evidence that the species ever occurred so far W. Three subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • E. f. flavigaster Cretzschmar, 1828 – Sahel from S Mauritania E to Eritrea and N Ethiopia.
  • E. f. flaviventris Stephens, 1815 – S South Sudan, SW, S & E DRCongo, Uganda and Kenya S through SC & E Africa to Angola (except SW), Botswana and N & E South Africa.
  • E. f. princeps Clancey & Winterbottom, 1960 – SW Angola and Namibia.
  • Descriptive notes

    15–16 cm; 15–28·3 g. Distinctive, with head boldly striped black and white, and flanks and lower belly whitish. Male nominate race has head black (... read more


    Male song a repeated series of sweet, clear whistles, “wee-ty, wee-ty, wee-ty, wee”,... read more


    Acacia (Acacia) and broadleaf woodland and savanna with sparse grass layer, typically in... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet includes grass seeds, soft green leaves, flower buds, and wide diversity of insects, including termites (Isoptera), hairless... read more


    Season Jun–Sept in W Africa and Sahel and Sept–Apr (mainly Oct–Dec) in S Africa; varies regionally, linked to rains, in E... read more


    Largely resident; some local fluctuations in abundance. Sometimes wanders in small flocks outside... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Locally common. Typically tends to be the most common of the yellow-breasted buntings in Africa. Average densities in Swaziland 13 birds/km² in... read more

    Recommended citation

    Ryan, P. (2020). Golden-breasted Bunting (Emberiza flaviventris). 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 28 February 2020).