The Corn Bunting
, Miliaria calandra
, is a passerine
A passerine is a bird of the order Passeriformes, which includes more than half of all bird species. Sometimes known as perching birds or, less accurately, as songbirds, the passerines form one of the most diverse terrestrial vertebrate orders: with over 5,000 identified species, it has roughly...
Birds are feathered, winged, bipedal, endothermic , egg-laying, vertebrate animals. Around 10,000 living species and 188 families makes them the most speciose class of tetrapod vertebrates. They inhabit ecosystems across the globe, from the Arctic to the Antarctic. Extant birds range in size from...
in the bunting
Buntings are a group of Eurasian and African passerine birds of the family Emberizidae.They are seed-eating birds with stubby, conical bills, and are the Old World equivalents of the species known in North America as sparrows...
family Emberizidae, a group now separated by most modern authors from the finch
The true finches are passerine birds in the family Fringillidae. They are predominantly seed-eating songbirds. Most are native to the Northern Hemisphere, but one subfamily is endemic to the Neotropics, one to the Hawaiian Islands, and one subfamily – monotypic at genus level – is found...
es, Fringillidae. It is the sole member of the genus Miliaria
, although a few authorities place it in the large genus Emberiza
This is an unusual bunting because the sexes appear similar in plumage, although the males are approximately 20% larger than females. This large bulky bunting is 16–19 cm long, has male and female plumages similar, and lacks the showy male colours, especially on the head, common in the genus Emberiza
. Both sexes look something like lark
Larks are passerine birds of the family Alaudidae. All species occur in the Old World, and in northern and eastern Australia; only one, the Shore Lark, has spread to North America, where it is called the Horned Lark...
s, with streaked grey-brown above, and whitish underparts.
The song of the male is a repetitive metallic sound, usually likened to jangling keys, which is given from a low bush, fence post or telephone
The telephone , colloquially referred to as a phone, is a telecommunications device that transmits and receives sounds, usually the human voice. Telephones are a point-to-point communication system whose most basic function is to allow two people separated by large distances to talk to each other...
Distribution and habitat
It breeds across southern and central Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...
, north Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...
across to Kazahkstan. It is mainly resident, but some birds from colder regions of central Europe and Asia migrate
Bird migration is the regular seasonal journey undertaken by many species of birds. Bird movements include those made in response to changes in food availability, habitat or weather. Sometimes, journeys are not termed "true migration" because they are irregular or in only one direction...
southwards in winter.
The Corn Bunting is a bird of open country with trees, such as farmland and weedy wasteland. It has declined greatly in northwest Europe due to intensive agricultural practices depriving it of its food supply of weed seeds and insects, the latter especially when feeding young.It has recently become extinct in Ireland, where it was previously common.
Males defend territories in the breeding season and can be polygynous, with up to three females per breeding male. The population sex ratio is generally 1:1, which means some males remain unmated during a season. Males play only a small role in parental care; they are not involved in nest building or incubation, and only feed the chicks when they are over half grown.
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 from 3 to 5, occasionally 6.
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...
, the governments Environmental organisation Natural England
Natural England is the non-departmental public body of the UK government responsible for ensuring that England's natural environment, including its land, flora and fauna, freshwater and marine environments, geology and soils, are protected and improved...
offers grants towards implementing measures to conserve this species, under the Environmental Stewardship
Environmental Stewardship is an agri-environment scheme run by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in England. It was formally launched on 18 March 2005, although the first agreements did not start until 1 August 2005....