Male Cirl Bunting identification
Mobile bird identification
Bird Field Guide
Adult Male (Summer)

Cirl Bunting

Emberiza cirlus
Bunting Menu
Thanks to: (Modified)
The Cirl Bunting is widespread in Southern Europe. In the UK is found only in a few places in the South West of England where it is a resident breeder.
Populations in the UK are considered at risk due to modern farming practices affecting habitat, however in Europe it is not a species of concern. The Cirl Bunting feeds mainly on grasshoppers throughout the summer months. Singing males can be hard to spot as they usually choose concealed positions.
Farmland and heath, in the UK usually near the coast.
Order: Passeriformes

Family: Emberizidae

Genus:  Emberiza

Species: E. cirlus
Female Cirl Bunting
Cirl Bunting flying
Female Cirl Bunting front view

The male Cirl Bunting in summer has a pale yellow underside, yellow head with black eye stripe and bib. His back is brown streaked with black and his yellow breast has rust-brown side patches.

Streaked dark green cap
Black eye stripe
Black bib
Rust brown breast patches
Olive-brown rump
Black tail with white outer feathers
Cirl Bunting front view
Adult Female
The female Cirl Bunting lacks the black head markings of the male and any yellow colouration, if present at all, is much duller. Her head is heavily streaked and her rump is olive-brown. Her underparts are lightly steaked.
Female Cirl Bunting or Female Yellowhammer?
Cirl Bunting in winter plumage
Female Cirl Bunting
Female Yellowhammer
Note the light streaking on this female Cirl Bunting, also note the very slight rust-brown patches on the birds breast and the birds slight build.
Female Yellowhammer showing rufous brown rump.
Yellowhammer Cirl Bunting
Streaking Heavy/thick Light/thin
Body shape Heavy Slight
Upperparts Chestnut/dark Dull brown
Rump Rufous-brown Olive
Leg colour Pale Blackish
Underparts Yellowish Less yellowish
Thanks to: (Modified)
Thanks to: (Modified)
Adult Male (Winter)
In winter the male is duller yellow and his head is more streaked with the black markings being more diffuse.