Sparrows, Buntings, Larks

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23 records

The typical sparrows, buntings, and their allies comprise the subfamily Emberizinae, family Emberizidae. The emberizid sparrows and buntings occur in a great variety of habitats, and are widely distributed, occurring on all of the habitable continents except for Southeast Asia and Australia. The greatest diversity of species, however, occurs in the Americas


Ashy-crowned Sparrow Lark

Total Photos: 6

The Ashy-crowned Sparrow Lark breeds in southern Canada, much of the United States, Northern Mexico and Asia. It is much less common in the east, where its range is contracting.

Ashy-crowned Sparrow Lark is distinctive. Adults have a typically sparrow-like dark-streaked brown back, and white underparts except for a dark central spot. The cheeks and crown sides are chestnut, with white eyebrow and crown stripes. The dark tail's corners are also white. Young Ashy-crowned Sparrow Larks are duller, and the underparts are streaked.

These birds forage on the ground or in low bushes. They mainly eat seeds, but insects, including grasshoppers are also eaten in the breeding season. They form flocks on migration or in winter.

The breeding habitat is a variety of open habitats including grasslands and cultivation. Ashy-crowned Sparrow Larks nest on the ground, laying 3-6 eggs in a grass cup nest sheltered by a clump of grass or other vegetation. The eggs are white with black scrawling.

Black-headed Bunting

Total Photos: 2

The black-headed bunting breeds in south-east Europe east to Iran and migrates in winter mainly to India, with some individuals moving further into south-east Asia. Like others in its family, it is found in open grassland habitats where they fly in flocks in search of grains and seed. Adult males are well marked with yellow underparts, chestnut back and a black head. Adult females in breeding plumage look like duller males.

The Chestnut-shouldered Petronia is a species of sparrow-like bird found in South Asia. It is found in forest and open scrub habitats. The species breeds in tree hollows often making use of the holes made be primary hole nesting birds such as barbets and woodpeckers.

It has a finer bill than typical sparrows and unlike them has no streaks on the plumage. The white double wing bar on the shoulder is diagnostic on the otherwise dull grey-brown sparrow. Males have a chestnut shoulder patch which can sometimes be hard to see. They also have a pale yellow spot on the throat in fresh plumage. Females are duller and lack the chestnut shoulder patch. The yellow spot is much reduced or lacking in females.

Crested Bunting

Total Photos: 7

The Crested Bunting is from the group of Eurasian & African Perching Birds. They are mainly seed-eating birds with stubby, conical bills. Their habits are similar to those of finches, with which they sometimes used to be grouped.

Crested Bunting is 20 cm long in size; and plumage is very much similar to Crow Pheasant. It is commonly seen around hills and mountains.

Crested Lark

Total Photos: 3

The crested lark is a species of lark distinguished from the other 81 species of lark by the crest of feathers that rise up in territorial or courtship displays and when singing. Common to mainland Europe, the birds can also be found in northern Africa and in parts of western Asia and China. It is a non-migratory bird.

Eastern Meadowlark

Total Photos: 3

The Eastern Meadowlark is a medium-sized bird, very similar in appearance to the Western Meadowlark. It appears from eastern North America to South America.

Adults have yellow under-parts with a black V on the breast and white flanks with black streaks. The upper-parts are mainly brown with black streaks. They have a long pointed bill and head is striped with light brown and black.

The song of this bird is of whistles. These birds forage on the ground OR in low vegetation, sometimes probing with its bill. They mainly eat arthropods, but also seeds and berries. In winter, they often feed in flocks.

Their breeding habitat is grasslands, pastures and hay fields. Nesting occurs throughout the summer months. The nest is also on the ground, covered with a roof woven from grasses. There may be more than one nesting female in a male's territory.

Eurasian Skylark

Total Photos: 0

Eurasian Tree Sparrow

Total Photos: 2

Greater Hoopoe-lark

Total Photos: 1

Grey-necked Bunting

Total Photos: 5

This bunting has a long pink bill and is greyish above. The male has a distinctive white eye-ring that stands out in contrast to the grey hood. The chin and throat are whitish pink and are bordered by grey malar stripes. The underparts are pinkish brown. The female is duller but the moustachial stripe can appear more noticeable. The outer tail feathers are whitish.

Horned Lark

Total Photos: 1

Unlike most other larks, this is a distinctive-looking species on the ground, mainly brown-grey above and pale below, with a striking black and yellow face pattern. Except for the central feathers, the tail is mostly black, contrasting with the paler body; this contrast is especially noticeable when the bird is in flight.

The nest is on the ground, with two to five eggs being laid. Food is seeds supplemented with insects in the breeding season. The nest may be near corn or soybeans for a source of food, and the female chooses the site.

House Sparrow

Total Photos: 7

The House Sparrow occurs naturally in most of Europe, the Mediterranean region, and much of Asia. It has also been intentionally or accidentally introduced to many parts of the world, making it the most widely distributed wild bird. It is strongly associated with human habitations, but it is not the only sparrow species found near houses. It is a small bird, with feathers mostly different shades of brown and grey.

This 14 to 16 cm long bird is abundant in temperate climates, but not universally common, and is scarce in many hilly districts. In cities, towns and villages, even around isolated farms, it can be the most abundant bird.

The male House Sparrow has a grey crown, cheeks and underparts, black on the throat, upper breast and between the bill and eyes. The bill in summer is blue-black, and the legs are brown. In winter the plumage is dulled by pale edgings, and the bill is yellowish brown. The female has no black on head or throat, nor a grey crown; her upperparts are streaked with brown. The juveniles are deeper brown, and the white is replaced by buff; the beak is dull yellow.

The House Sparrow is often confused with the smaller and more slender Tree Sparrow, which, however, has a chestnut and not grey crown, two distinct wing bars, and a black patch on each cheek.

Indian Bush Lark

Total Photos: 1

It is pale and is mostly found in arid areas. It has a cheek patch completely bounded by a white supercilium and post-auricular border. The crown and upperparts are heavily streaked. The pale underparts have large spots on the breast. Most of its wing coverts, tertials and central tail feathers have pale centres. The primary coverts look all brown.

The rufous wing bars are diagnostic but care must be taken not to confuse the bird with M. affinis in the central Western Ghats and country around where their ranges overlap. Mirafra affinis is darker with more rufous on the wings.

Malabar Lark

Total Photos: 6

Malabar Lark is a common bird of open country, cultivation and scrub, often at some altitude. It nests on the ground, laying two to three eggs. Its food is seeds and insects, the latter especially in the breeding season.

This is a smallish lark, slightly smaller than the Skylark. It has a long spiky erectile crest. It is grayer than the Skylark, and lacks the white wing and tail edges of that species, which is a winter visitor to India.

Oriental Skylark

Total Photos: 0

Rufous-tailed Lark

Total Photos: 5

The Rufous-tailed Lark is a ground bird found in the drier open stony habitats of India and parts of Pakistan. Like other species in the genus it has a large finch-like bill with a slightly curved edge to the upper mandible. The dull brown colour matches with soil as it forages for grass seeds, grain and insects. Males and females are indistinguishable in the field but during the breeding season, the male has a courtship display that involves flying up steeply and then nose-diving and pulling up in a series of stepped wavy dips accompanied by calling. They forage on the ground in pairs or small groups.

Russet Sparrow

Total Photos: 4

Its plumage is mainly warm rufous above and grey below. It exhibits sexual dimorphism, with the plumage of both sexes patterned similarly to that of the corresponding sex of House Sparrow. This sparrow feeds mainly on the seeds of herbs and grains, but it also eats berries and insects, particularly during the breeding season.

Sand Lark

Total Photos: 1

Short-toed Lark

Total Photos: 1

The short-toed lark breeds in southern Europe, north-west Africa, and across temperate Asia from Turkey and southern Russia to Mongolia. During migration they form large flocks that fly in synchrony and at other times they form loose flocks.

Sind Sparrow

Total Photos: 0

Striolated Bunting

Total Photos: 0

The breeding male has a chestnut body, and grey head with darker streaking and a white supercilium and moustachial streak. The female's head has a brown tint to the grey, and more diffused streaking. The striolated bunting has stronger facial striping and a paler belly than the north African house bunting.

It is a resident breeder of dry country from the Canary Islands, east through south-west Asia to north-western India.

It breeds usually close to streams, laying two to four eggs in a nest on the ground or in a hole in the ground. Its natural food consists of seeds, or when feeding young, insects. The breeding range of the bird in India has been noted in recent times to include more southerly locations such as near Saswad near Pune. The incubation period of the clutch of three eggs is 14 days.

Sykes's Crested Lark

Total Photos: 1

Sykes's Crested lark is a species of lark found in the dry open country of peninsular India. Its distribution is mainly restricted to Central India, although stray records have been found elsewhere in India. It is identified by its prominent crest and its overall rufous colouration. It has streaks on its breast which are less prominent than those found in the Oriental skylark.

White-throated Sparrow

Total Photos: 1

The White-throated Sparrow is a passerine bird of the American sparrow family. It is 18 cm  in length with a wingspan of 25 cm; and weighing 30 grams.

There are two adult plumage variations known as the tan-striped and white-striped forms. On the white-striped form the crown is black with a white central stripe. The supercilium is white as well. The auriculars are gray with the upper edge forming a black eye line.

On the tan form, the crown is dark brown with a tan central stripe. The supercilium is tan as well. The auriculars are gray/light brown with the upper edge forming a brown eye line. Both variations feature dark eyes, a white throat, yellow lores and gray bill. There is variation and some individuals may show dark lateral stripes of each side of the throat. They almost always pair with the opposite color morph for breeding. The two color morphs occur in approximately equal numbers. Both male and female white-striped birds are more aggressive than tan-striped birds during the breeding season.

The breast has gray/tan streaks and the streaks continue down the flanks but the belly is generally light gray. The wings are rufous with two distinct white wing bars. Sexes are morphologically similar.