Distribution / Breeding:
It breeds across the taiga of the far northeast of Europe and northern Asia. It is migratory, wintering in the subtropics in northern India, southern China and the northern parts of southeast Asia. It is a rare wanderer to western Europe.
It breeds in open coniferous woodland, often with some birch or willow. 4-6 eggs are laid in a tree nest. .
Its natural food consists of insects when feeding young, and otherwise seeds.
This is a small bunting at 12-13.5cm in length. It has a heavily streaked brown back and white underparts with fine dark streaking. With its chestnut face and white (cheek) stripe, it resembles a small female Reed Bunting, but has black crown stripes, a white eye-ring, and a fine dark border to the rear of its chestnut cheeks. Males and females look alike.
Call / Song:
The call is a distinctive zik, and the song is a rolling siroo-sir-sir-siroo.
- BirdLife International (2004).. 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. Retrieved on 12 May 2006. Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern