Scientific name: Emberiza calandra
Status: Resident breeding species
Breeding birds: 11,000 territories
Conservation status: Red
Length: 17 – 19 cm
Wingspan: 28 – 30 cm
Weight: 32 – 67 g
Corn buntings are often spotted perching on exposed wires, fences, posts and branches.
Male and female corn buntings look similar but the male is larger. The have grey-brown upperparts with dark streaks. The rump and tail feathers have darker grey markings and the upperwing has dark brown feathers edged with grey.
Corn buntings’ chins and throats are whitish and the underparts are pale buff with dark streaks. The head is olive-brown with a paler throat. The bill is pale yellow, eyes are dark brown and legs and feet are pink.
Juvenile corn buntings are paler than the adults with less streaked underparts.
Corn buntings nests are built on the ground. The female builds a loose structure from grass lined with finer materials.
Corn buntings lay 4-6 white eggs with darker markings which are incubated by the female for 12-14 days. The chicks are fed by the female while the males stays near the nest continuously singing. Chicks fledge about 9-13 days after hatching but are unable to fly when they have left the nest spending their time hidden in thick vegetation near the nest.
Corn buntings eat mainly seeds from weeds and grasses. During breeding season they will also eat insects, spiders, caterpillars, slugs and worms.
Where to see them
Corn buntings can be seen all year round in open farmland. During winter they move into farmyards. The are found all over the UK except Wales, Northern Ireland and the west of England and Scotland.
Did you know?
In the hierarchy of the corn bunting world, males with a more mates will sing more often than males with only one mate.