Family Old World Buntings (Emberizidae)

Least Concern

Little Bunting (Emberiza pusilla)


French: Bruant nain German: Zwergammer Spanish: Escribano pigmeo

Emberiza pusilla


, 1776,

Daurian Range, southern Chita, south-eastern Siberia, Russia


Sometimes placed in genus Schoeniclus or, in the past, in Ocyris. Monotypic.


NE Norway, N Sweden (rare), N Finland and N Russia E across Siberia and Russian Far East (N to mouth of Ob and Gydan Peninsula, to c. 75° N on R Yenisey, and mouths of Indigirka, Kolyma and Anadyr) to Pacific, S to c. 60° N in W and to middle R Yenisey, N of L Baikal, S Yakutia and near R Arka on Sea of Okhotsk coast; also NE China and possibly Mongolia#R. Winters from NE Indian Subcontinent E to N & C Myanmar, N Thailand, N Indochina, S China (S of R Yangtze) and Taiwan.

Descriptive notes

12–13·5 cm; 12–19·3 g. Small bunting, c. 10% smaller than otherwise somewhat similar E. schoeniclus; small bill with straight culmen. In... read more


Song, from top of tree or bush, rather variable, consisting usually of two or three parts each of... read more


Breeds in moist open taiga, or partly flooded forests, with dwarf birch (Betula nana) and... read more

Food and feeding

Diet during breeding includes seeds and invertebrates. Recorded items include mayflies (Ephemeroptera), stoneflies (Plecoptera), bugs (... read more


Season begins relatively late, between early Jun and Jul, some pairs still nesting during Aug; single-brooded. Nest built entirely by... read more


Migratory; winters mainly in region from NE Indian Subcontinent E to SE China and S to N Indochina... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Common to locally very common. One of the most numerous bird species in parts of the extreme N taiga. Estimated European population in range 5,000,... read more

Recommended citation

Copete, J.L. (2020). Little Bunting (Emberiza pusilla). 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 30 March 2020).