Corn Bunting

The Corn Bunting, Miliaria calandra, is a passerine bird in the bunting family Emberizidae. It breeds across southern and central Europe, north Africa and Asia across to Mongolia. It is mainly resident, but some birds from colder regions of central Europe and Asia migrate southwards in winter. The Corn Bunting is a bird of open country with trees, such as farmland and weedy wasteland.

Sexes are similar in appearance. The male Corn Bunting is about 20% larger than the female. They have streaked gray-brown upper parts and whitish under parts. The male is up to 7.5 inches long. Corn Buntings lack the showy male colors, especially on the head, that are common among most buntings.

Male Corn Buntings defend their territories in the breeding season and can have up to three female partners while breeding. The population sex ratio between these birds is about 1:1, which means some males remain unmated during a season. Males play a small role in parental care. They are not involved in nest building or incubation of the eggs. They will only feed the young when they are more than half grown.

The natural food consists of insects when feeding young, and otherwise seeds. The nest is made of grass and hair is usually built on the ground. Average clutch size is four, but commonly from 3 to 5 eggs, and even six have been laid.