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

    15–17 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... 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 (Least Concern). Abundant in many areas; somewhat localized over extensive range. Migration studies at Chokpak Pass, in W Tien Shan of Kazakhstan,... read more

    Recommended citation

    Madge, S. (2020). 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 22 February 2020).