The Corn Bunting, Miliaria calandra, occurs naturally across southern and central Europe, north Africa and Asia across to Mongolia. It is mainly resident, but some birds from colder regions of central Europe and Asia migrate southwards in winter.
It inhabits open country with trees, such as farmland and weedy wasteland.
Its numbers have declined greatly in northwest Europe due to intensive agricultural practices that reduce its food supply of weed seeds and insects.
This large bulky bunting measures 16-19cm in length.
The upper plumage is streaked grey-brown above. The plumage below is whitish.
Males and females look alike, except the males are about 20% larger than females..
Breeding / Nesting:
Males mate with up to three females.
The nest is made of grass, lined with hair or fine grass, and is usually built on the ground. Average clutch size is 4, but commonly varies
Males are not involved in nest building or incubation, and only feed the chicks when they are over half grown.
Call / Song:
The male’s song is described as a repetitive metallic sound, usually likened to jangling keys, often given from a low bush, fence post or telephone wires.
They mostly feed on seeds outside the breeding season, and increase their insect consumption when raising chicks.
Species Research by Sibylle Johnson
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