Ortolan Bunting Emberiza hortulana 圃鵐

Category I. Accidental.


15-16 cm. In first-winter plumage the key features are strongly streaked mantle, streaking on rump, an obvious step in the fringes to the tertials, broad pale wing bars, distinct pale orbital ring, creamy submoustachial stripe contrasting with a dark malar and pinkish bill.

Adults are distinctive and only likely to be confused with Grey-necked Bunting E. buchanani in the region. Males have a greenish grey head and upper chest, yellowish submoustachial stripe and throat and an obvious creamy orbital ring, which is typical of the species. The underparts are orange-brown apart. The bill is fairly deep pink or orange, while the legs are flesh. Adult females have a duller head colour and a paler breast that has some dark streaking.


Calls include a short ‘teeu’ that falls sharply in pitch, ‘choo’, ‘chilp’ and ‘plik’.


The sole record occurred in the agricultural area of Long Valley.


There is one record: a first-winter at Long Valley on 20 October 2005 (Welch 2010).


Monotypic. Occurs patchily in southern, central, northern and eastern Europe through southeastern Europe to northern Iran and through western Russia to southern Siberia, northern Kazakhstan, northwest Mongolia and northern and western Xinjiang (Madge and Sharpe 2020). Has occurred near Shanghai (Liu and Chen 2020).


IUCN: Least Concern. Population trend decreasing.

Liu, Y. and Y. H. Chen (eds) (2020). The CNG Field Guide to the Birds of China (in Chinese). Hunan Science and Technology Publication House, Changsha.

Madge, S. and C. J. Sharpe (2020). Ortolan Bunting (Emberiza hortulana), version 1.0. In Birds of the World (J. del Hoyo, A. Elliott, J. Sargatal, D. A. Christie, and E. de Juana, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.ortbun1.01

Welch, G. 2010. Ortolan Bunting Emberiza hortulana at Long Valley. The first Hong Kong record. Hong Kong Bird Report 2005-06: 216-217.

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