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Emberiza cineracea (Cinereous Bunting / Boz Çinte)

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Emberiza cineracea (Cinereous Bunting / Boz Çinte)

Emberiza cineracea (Cinereous Bunting / Boz Çinte) [Female/Dişi]  from Yamanlar Mts., IZMIR -26.04.2014.

One of the least known bunting species in its range, the cinereous bunting is a rather drab, greyish to brownish bird with a white outer tail. Although described as a relatively featureless species, its main distinguishing character is the olive to yellow head of the male, together with the pale yellow chin and conspicuous white eye ring. The beak is pale grey, and the legs brown. The female cinereous bunting is similar to the male, but darker and duller in colour, with more streaked plumage, and a trace of yellow on the throat. The juvenile has slightly browner plumage, and is even more streaked than the female.

Two subspecies of cinereous bunting are recognised, which differ mainly in the colour of the underparts, with Emberiza cineracea cineracea having a more white or grey belly, and Emberiza cineracea semenowi a brighter yellow one The song of the cinereous bunting is a simple, ringing, tuneful phrase of five to six notes, while the most common call is a short, metallic kjip.

E. c. cineracea breeds on the Greek islands of Skyros, Lesbos and Chios, as well as in western Turkey, while E. c. semenowi breeds in southeast Turkey and southwest Iran, as well as potentially in northern Syria and Iraq. A migratory species, its winter range is poorly known, but is thought to include Yemen, Eritrea, and possibly also Ethiopia, Sudan and southwest Saudi Arabia. It has also been recorded during migration through parts of the Middle East, Arabian Peninsula and Egypt. 

The cinereous bunting usually breeds on dry, rocky slopes and uplands with shrubby vegetation and sometimes scattered conifers, although it usually avoids arid areas, and has also been recorded using more lushly vegetated slopes at lower elevations. Migrating individuals may use lowland desert or agricultural land, and in its winter range the species is found in dry, open country, such as semi-desert or coastal plains.

The cinereous bunting is reported to migrate at night, usually arriving in its breeding grounds in early April, and breeding from April to May. The nest is built on the ground, often positioned against a rock and partially concealed by overhanging vegetation, and is constructed from stalks, leaves and grass-heads, and lined with rootlets and hair. The male may use trees, rocks or even powerlines as regular posts from which to sing.

Little else is known about the biology of the cinereous bunting. Around three eggs are laid, which are white to pale greyish-blue, with darker streaks. The species is thought to feed mainly on small seeds, as well as small invertebrates such as insects, spiders and snails, with invertebrates probably making up more of the diet during the breeding season. After breeding, the cinereous bunting leaves for its wintering grounds from July onwards. 

References: ARKiVE & WiKiPeDiA.

Author Bayram GÖÇMEN
Created on Saturday 26 April 2014
Posted on Wednesday 30 April 2014
Tags izmir, TURKEY / TÜRKİYE
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