Family Old World Buntings (Emberizidae)

Least Concern

Lark-like Bunting (Emberiza impetuani)


French: Bruant des rochers German: Lerchenammer Spanish: Escribano alaudino

Emberiza impetuani

A. Smith

, 1836,

“country between Nu. Gariep and Tropic” = east Botswana


Sometimes placed in genus Fringillaria. Proposed race eremica (described from near Otjiwarongo, in NC Namibia) subsumed into nominate. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • E. i. impetuani A. Smith, 1836 – Angola (coastal plain S of Luanda, also locally in Moxico), Namibia, NW South Africa and W Botswana, occasionally irrupting E to Zimbabwe and N South Africa (Limpopo Province).
  • E. i. sloggetti (Macdonald, 1957) – W South Africa, occasionally irrupting E to Mpumalanga, Swaziland, Lesotho and S KwaZulu-Natal.
  • Descriptive notes

    12–14 cm; 13–19 g. A rather plain, nondescript bunting. Nominate race has head sandy brown with darker brown streaking on crown, distinctive broad buffy... read more


    Male song a fairly long series of twittering and buzzy notes lasting 2–4 seconds. Contact... read more


    Semi-arid grasslands and shrublands, in both rocky and sandy areas. Typically associated with the... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet mainly grass seeds; also some forb seeds, soft green leaves and wide diversity of invertebrates, including hairless caterpillars,... read more


    Season linked to rainfall; moves into areas after rains, but breeds only if sufficient rain. Monogamous. Solitary, but nests often closely... read more


    Nomadic, following rainfall events; small numbers resident in some areas. Migrates into more mesic... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. One of most abundant nomadic birds in the Karoo. This species’ nomadic behaviour makes it hard to protect within traditional nature reserves, but it... read more

    Recommended citation

    Ryan, P. (2020). Lark-like Bunting (Emberiza impetuani). 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).