Family Old World Buntings (Emberizidae)

Least Concern

Grey-necked Bunting (Emberiza buchanani)


French: Bruant à cou gris German: Steinortolan Spanish: Escribano cabecigrís

Emberiza buchanani


, 1845,

peninsular India


Proposed race huttoni (from Afghanistan) has features considered to lie within range of variation of nominate. Geographical variation somewhat clinal; species sometimes treated as monotypic. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • E. b. cerrutii De Filippi, 1863 – SE Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan E to Iran and S Turkmenistan; assumed to winter in India.
  • E. b. neobscura Paynter, 1970 – C & NE Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan E to Altai ranges, SW Mongolia and NW China (NW Xinjiang); assumed to winter in India.
  • E. b. buchanani Blyth, 1845 – S Uzbekistan and Pamirs of Tajikistan S to N & C Afghanistan and probably SW Pakistan (Baluchistan); winters over most of W India (S to Hyderabad).
  • Descriptive notes

    16 cm; 17·2–26 g. Hooded bunting with rather long pale pinkish bill and prominent whitish eyering. Male nominate race breeding (worn plumage) has crown to nape,... read more


    Song, usually from top of large boulder, a simple phrase of c. 4 rising notes followed by lower-... read more


    Dry, rocky mountainsides, ravines and upland plateaux, with grassy clumps and weedy vegetation;... read more

    Food and feeding

    Wide variety of seeds, and shoots of dry-country plants, including those of bistorts (Polygonum), spurge (Euphorbia), sea... read more


    Males arrive at breeding sites a few days ahead of females. Eggs reported from late Apr to Jul in Iran, early May in S Turkmenistan, late... read more


    Migratory. Departure from breeding grounds from late Aug through Sept, a little earlier in... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Abundant in many areas; somewhat localized over extensive range. Migration studies at Chokpak Pass, in W Tien Shan of Kazakhstan, indicate... read more

    Recommended citation

    Madge, S. (2017). Grey-necked Bunting (Emberiza buchanani). 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 November 2017).