Family Old World Buntings (Emberizidae)

Least Concern

Masked Bunting (Emberiza personata)


French: Bruant de Temminck German: Strohammer Spanish: Escribano enmascarado

Emberiza personata


, 1836,

northern Japan


Hitherto treated as conspecific with E. spodocephala, despite several recent indications of genetic distinctiveness#R#R#R. Differs, however, in its yellow vs olive-grey submoustachial stripe, throat and breast (3); brighter yellow belly to vent (1); heavier streaking on flanks (1); greener-grey on crown (ns[1]); longer bill (effect size 3.83, score 2); and voice reportedly (in HBW) similar but distinguishable (at least 1). Monotypic.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.

S Sakhalin, Kuril Is and Japan (Hokkaido S to C Honshu); winters from N Honshu S through Shikoku and Kyushu to Ryukyu Is and Izu Is.

Descriptive notes

13·5–16 cm; 17·8–23·5 g. Adult is relatively distinctive compared to formerly conspecific E. spodocephala, against which it is marginally smaller (wing of male 65–76... read more


Song similar to that of E. spodocephala, but its tempo is slower, broken into short... read more


Breeds mainly in deciduous, mixed and coniferous forests, particularly around the edge of dense... read more

Food and feeding

In study in riparian forest in Japan, adult diet found to involve mainly small aquatic invertebrates. During migration and on wintering... read more


Season May to Jul. Nest, built apparently by female alone, of soft dry grass, lined with hair, placed on ground or in low bush or herb,... read more


A comparatively short-distance migrant. Leaves breeding grounds in N Japan and S Sakhalin only in... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). The second most numerous Emberiza in Japan. Common in suitable habitat throughout range; common also in non-breeding range.... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Masked Bunting (Emberiza personata). 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 29 February 2020).