Rock Bunting    Emberiza cia


  • Emberiza : Old German name Embritz for a bunting
  • Cia : Italian name Cia for the Rock Bunting

Vernacular Names: Kash: Won tsar, Pun: Pahari boli

Distribution in India: resident of Western Himalayas, Winter migrant down to adjacent plains.

Description: Size of 15-16 cm; Wt. of 17-30g. Has pale ash-greyish head, throat and breast, contrasting dark lateral crown stripe, eye stripe and moustachial stripe, meets rear eye stripe at nape side; upperparts rich chestnut with broad black streaks, rump and upper tail-coverts unstreaked reddish-brown; upper wing mostly blackish, flight-feathers with narrow pale outer edges, tertials with pale rufous outer edges and narrower inner edges, median coverts tipped whitish (forming wing bar), greater coverts tipped buffish-white (second, less obvious wing bar); tail blackish, underparts below breast rusty brown; tinges of yellowish-brown in this plumage disappear with wear, producing more contrasted pattern in spring; iris dark brown; bill greyish, darker above and light lead-grey below; legs bright orange-flesh or reddish. Female is similar to male. The juvenile has buff to rufous-buff head streaked dark, dark eyestripe, brownish ear-coverts bordered dark below, upperparts are buff to reddish-buff with prominent dark brown streaking, rump somewhat more rufous and also streaked, upperwing-coverts are tipped buffish, tertials are black with light rufous edgings, underparts are buffish, breast is streaked dark, flanks are less boldly streaked; bare parts much as for adult. The first-winter is similar to adult female. Races differ mainly in plumage darkness, but variation largely clinal, becoming paler and greyer from N to S and from W to E. The race stracheyi (Indian Himalayas) is darker and more richly coloured, with tips of median and greater upperwing-coverts rufous-buff .

Habitat: It is found rocky slopes in hills and high mountains, ravines, and in clearings in conifer forests. In winter it is found also in lowland sites, more common in cultivated areas and wastelands. It is found up to 4000 m.

Food Habits: It eats mainly on seeds of herbs and other plants, and during breeding period mostly on invertebrates. Forages mainly on ground, in rocky areas or along scrubby vegetation, also in low herbs and grass in fields and similar places. In winter found singly and in parties of up to ten or so individuals, sometimes joining other seed-eating species

Breeding Habits: Breeds in Mar-Aug. two broods per season. Nest built by female, taking usually 6–8 days, composed of dry herbs and mosses, together with fine grasses and hair, normally placed in sunny site on ground, protected by vegetation, or at base of rock exposed to sun but sometimes in shady place, access normally by rocky surface more or less devoid of vegetation; Sometimes in crevice in wall or in tree. Clutch 3–6 eggs; incubation by female, period 13–15 days; chicks fed by both parents, nestling period 9–13 days; young leave nest before able to fly, becoming independent three weeks later