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GALLERIES > BIRDS > EMBERIZOIDAE > EMBERIZIDAE > CAPE BUNTING [Emberiza capensis]


Cape Bunting Picture
 
 

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SPECIES INFO

The Cape Bunting, Emberiza capensis, is a passerine bird in the bunting family Emberizidae. It occurs in southern Africa from southwestern Angola, eastern Zambia, Zimbabwe and southern Tanzania to the Cape

Its habitat is rocky slopes and dry weedy scrub, mainly in mountains in the north of its range. Its lined cup nest is built low in a shrub or tussock. The 2-4 eggs are cream and marked with red-brown and lilac.

The Cape Bunting is 16cm long. The adult has a black crown, white supercilium and black-bordered white ear coverts. The upperparts are grey brown with some dark streaks, and the wing coverts are chestnut. The tail is darker chestnut, and the underparts are grey with a pale throat. The sexes are very similar, but females may have a buff tone to the white head markings. Young birds have duller chestnut wings, a less distinct head pattern, and heavier streaking extending on to the breast and flanks.

There are a dozen subspecies, differing in plumage, but all have the distinctive head pattern and rufous in the wings. The northeastern race E. c. vincenti is very dark above, and slaty below. It has reduced chestnut on the wing coverts. It is sometimes raised to species status as Vincent's Bunting Emberiza vincenti.

The Cape Bunting is not gregarious, and is normally seen alone, in pairs or family groups. It feeds on the ground on seeds, insects and spiders.

The Cape Bunting's call is an ascending zzoo-zeh-zee-zee. The song is a loud chirping chup chup chup chup chee chhep chu. E. c. vincenti has a simple tre-re-ret tre-re-ret song.

This species previously utilized stony arid areas with some short grass, but much of this has been lost to ploughing.





                                     



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