Sunday, 10 August 2014

Crested bunting

Melophus lathami

Photo by Sharad Agrawal (India Nature Watch)

Common name:
crested bunting (en); escrevedeira-de-poupa (pt); bruant huppé (fr); escribano crestado (es); haubenammer (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Emberizidae

This species is found from southern China, northern Vietnam, northern Laos and north-western Thailand, west to Nepal, central and north-western India, and northern Pakistan.

These birds are 16 cm long and weigh 20-26 g.

The crested bunting is found in dry grasslands, rocky outcrops and hillsides, terraced arable land, and dry scrublands.

They feed mainly on small grass seeds of various kinds, including fallen grains and some weed seeds, but also hunt some insects.

Crested buntings breed in April-August, usually coinciding with the local rainy season. The nest is a shallow cup made of grass roots, grasses and moss, either unlined or lined with fine grasses, plant fibres, rootlets, moss and hair. The female lays 3-4 pale greenish-white to greyish eggs with red, brown and purple spots and blotches. There is no available information regarding the incubation and fledgling periods.

IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is described as generally fairly common. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

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