Family Old World Buntings (Emberizidae)

Least Concern

Yellow-throated Bunting (Emberiza elegans)


French: Bruant élégant German: Gelbkehlammer Spanish: Escribano elegante

Emberiza elegans


, 1836,



Sometimes placed in genus Schoeniclus or in monotypic Cristemberiza. Recent phylogenetic analyses indicate that this is a sister-species of E. siemsseni. Geographical variation not fully understood, and complicated further because descriptions of some proposed races were based on individuals on passage; more study required. Proposed race ticehursti (described from R Sidemi, in S Ussuriland) included in nominate. Two subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • E. e. elegans Temminck, 1836 – Russian Far East and NE China to Korea and Tsushima I (SW Japan); winters mainly in Korea, Japan (S of Hokkaido) and SE China.
  • E. e. elegantula Swinhoe, 1870 – C China (S Gansu and S Shaanxi S to Yunnan, Guizhou and Hunan); winter records S to NE Myanmar, where status uncertain#R.
  • Descriptive notes

    15–16 cm; 14–22 g. Male nominate race breeding is unmistakable through combination of black crown with erectile crest, rich yellow supercilium (whitish at very... read more


    Song, normally from perch in tree or bush, a long, monotonous twitter, e.g. “tswit tsu ri tu... read more


    Inhabits open dry deciduous forest and mixed deciduous–conifer forest, thickets and bushes, at... read more

    Food and feeding

    Food during breeding season consists mainly of invertebrates, but also some seeds. Forages on ground. Outside breeding season generally in... read more


    Season begins in May; usually two broods. Nest a simple structure of loosely packed moss, plant stems, sedge and leaves, sometimes with... read more


    Poorly known. Nominate race present in wintering areas from Nov to early Apr; winters mainly in... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Fairly common to locally common. Global population has not been reliably quantified, but assumed to be stable.

    Recommended citation

    Copete, J.L. (2020). Yellow-throated Bunting (Emberiza elegans). 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).