Family Old World Buntings (Emberizidae)

Least Concern

Red-headed Bunting (Emberiza bruniceps)


French: Bruant à tête rousse German: Braunkopfammer Spanish: Escribano carirrojo

Emberiza bruniceps

J. F. Brandt

, 1841,



See remarks under E. melanocephala. Present species sometimes referred to as E. icteria, but current name has priority. Monotypic.


Volga–Ural interfluve (S from just N of Caspian Sea, c. 51° N) E through Kazakhstan to S Altai Mts, W Mongolia and NW China (Xinjiang), and S to NE Iran, Turkmenistan, NW & E Afghanistan and Pakistan (N Baluchistan), Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. Winters in India.

Descriptive notes

15–16·5 cm; 18–34 g. A fairly large bunting with relatively long tail, and without white on outer rectrices. Male breeding is very distinctive, with head... read more


Song, normally from top of bush or wire, often in flight, a rather monotonous repetition with few... read more


Isolated patches of bushes on pure steppes, also in semi-desert and desert oases; occupies all... read more

Food and feeding

Takes seeds throughout year; during breeding season, feeds mostly on invertebrates. Among invertebrates recorded in diet are damselflies... read more


Season May–Aug, including nests with eggs until mid-Jul; apparently single-brooded, but occasional second broods reported. Male... read more


Migratory; winters in most of NC & peninsular India. Nocturnal migrant. Autumn migration starts... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Common to locally very common. Considered common in Kazakhstan. No evidence of any declines in any parts of breeding range, and global population... read more

Recommended citation

Copete, J.L. (2020). Red-headed Bunting (Emberiza bruniceps). 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).