Bird Families

Common oatmeal


Common bunting (Latin Emberiza citrinella) is a small bird of the Ovsyankov family (Emberizidae) of the Passeridae order. It differs from the well-known house sparrow by the presence of bright yellow or golden plumage on the chest and head.

She got the name because of her addiction to feeding after harvest in harvested fields, with particular attention to the grains of oats.

In European countries, she is also called the peasant canary for her rather melodic voice. Practical inhabitants of the Mediterranean coast massively catch buntings with nets during autumn migrations and sell them in local markets.

They are bought not to satisfy the ear, but purely for culinary purposes. Their meat is considered an unusually tasty and healthy delicacy for southerners.


Buntings live throughout Eurasia from the British Isles to the Far East. They are also found on the cool Scandinavian Peninsula.

Birds living in the northern regions make seasonal flights to warmer regions, while the rest prefer to lead a sedentary lifestyle, hibernating near their native nesting sites.

Common buntings settle mainly in rural areas, choosing for life the fields cut by the fringes with islets of shrubs or small groves.

Large fields and open spaces do not appeal to them. They spend the winter closer to rural estates, flying in search of profit to their backyard gardens and vegetable gardens.

Buntings live and feed in small flocks. In winter, they often join sparrows or other small birds in order to get food together. At night, they always separate from other species of birds and settle for the night in the branches of dense bushes.

The basis of food is the seeds that have fallen to the ground.

In the spring, the birds willingly eat young greens, and in the summer they enjoy insects with pleasure. In the fall, the oatmeal rushes to the fields, where there are many grains that have fallen from the ears.

After eating, they like to bask in the sun, perched on treetops, telegraph poles, or rooftops. At the slightest danger, the birds emit an alarming cry, warning their relatives about the danger.


From a sparrow. The color of males is dominated by lemon-yellow color, the brightest on the head. The loin and upper tail are rusty-red. The color is variable due to the different development of yellow, chestnut brown and olive colors and differently pronounced streaks. The female has less yellow than the male, more olive and brown, there are more distinct dark brown streaks on the chest and sides, they are also on the throat, the chestnut color on the chest is weak or not. First-year males are similar to females, one-year-old females also look more brownish than older ones. In the autumn plumage, the color is generally the same, the bright lemon colors are more or less muted by greenish-gray and chestnut. Juveniles in nesting plumage have very little yellow, many dark streaks on the underside of the body, including the throat. In August - September they molt and become similar to adults, a reliable difference is pointed tail feathers (in adults they are rounded). They differ from the white-capped bunting in all outfits by the presence of yellow in the plumage. There is always a yellow color on the head, at least at the base of the feathers. There are young females with little or no yellow plumage, and it is easy to confuse them with females of white-capped bunting. In contrast to them, in common buntings, the outer edges of the primary flight feathers, with rare exceptions, are lemon yellow, including in all juveniles and in females. The underwings are always yellow. Weight 23-36 g, length 16-20, wing 8.0-9.6, span 26-30 cm.


In Kazakhstan, breeds in the valley of the middle reaches of the Urals (up to Uralsk) and in the Aktyubinsk region, on the Kokchetav uplift (Sarymbetsky bor), in Borovoe, along the Ishim in the Petropavlovsk region, in Karaganda, Pavlodar Trans-Irtysh, near Semipalatinsk, in the Kalbinsky highlands, in the Yugo Western Altai and in its foothills, in Tarbagatai. Winters in large numbers in the south and southeast of Kazakhstan.On migration and in winter, it occurs almost everywhere, on plains and in low mountains.


Common breeding migrant, common migrant or wintering bird outside breeding range. Inhabits river valleys, plain deciduous forests with shrub undergrowth and tall grass, as well as deciduous, mixed and coniferous forests with shrubs and tall grass in the mountains at altitudes up to 1800 m in Altai. During flights and wintering, it occurs in open landscapes with the presence of trees and shrubs, in forest belts, orchards, vegetable gardens, thickets of weeds and in settlements. In spring in southern Kazakhstan, migration begins in late February - early March, mass migration occurs in mid-March, the last birds are recorded in early April. Appears in the northern regions in the second half of March - early April, the last migratory birds were recorded in the first ten days of May. Breeds in separate pairs. The nest is located on the ground, under a bush or grass, rarely on bushes at a height of 15-20 cm from the ground; the nest is built from dry grass and is lined with roots and hair. Clutches of 4-5, rarely 6 eggs are laid from May to end of July. For 12-14 days, the female predominantly incubates the clutch, the male sometimes replaces it for a short time. Both parents feed juveniles, which fledge at the age of 10-13 days. Autumn migration begins at the end of August, mainly in September and lasts until the end of October - November. They migrate in flocks of up to 20-50 birds, often together with white-capped buntings, whiskers and finches.

Sources of information

Gavrilov E. I., Gavrilov A. E. "The Birds of Kazakhstan". Almaty, 2005. E. I. Gavrilov. "Fauna and distribution of birds in Kazakhstan". Almaty, 1999. V.K. Ryabitsev. "Birds of the Urals, Urals and Western Siberia". Ekaterinburg. Ural University Press, 2000.


The bird is small in size - the total length reaches 16 cm, the wing length is 7.5 cm, the wingspan is 23 cm, the tail length is 5.5 cm. The color of the head, chin and throat to the middle of the crop is black. A light strip extends back from the corners of the beak. There is also a light stripe around the neck at the back of the head. The lower part of the body is white, with small dark streaks on the sides. The back and shoulders are dark in color, ranging from gray to black-brown with rusty-brown lateral stripes. There are light stripes along the edges of the tail.

Females and juveniles lack black plumage on their heads.

In appearance, it is most similar to polar oatmeal, but differs from it in size - reed oatmeal is almost twice as large.


The voice is not loud, the sounds can be represented as "ttsiyk". The song is loud enough, conventionally it can be rendered as "ti-ti-tirrch" or "sri-sri-tiri-tiri".


The flight is fast, light and gusty, with ups and downs. It moves on the ground in fast leaps. Can sit on very thin branches and reeds.

Life in captivity

The bird is widespread, but does not live in captivity so often. She has a distrustful and fearful nature. Most of all, it is preferred by canalists. For them, Remez oatmeal is a bird (there is a photo in the article) necessary for learning oatmeal melody. Young males are taken for training. The bunting cage needs to be taken spacious up to 70 centimeters long. If there are still other birds in the cage, then the males can show themselves aggressively. If such a case takes place, the male is removed. The cages contain both pemez and common oatmeal. You can also find in captivity garden, bile, crumb, gray-headed and some other species.


Emberiza schoeniclus
Nest is built on the shores of water bodies on bushes. The female lays 4 to 6 eggs colored light olive or ocher with dark curls and spots. The incubation period lasts 12-14 days. Only female incubates. The brood period lasts 12 to 15 days. The breeding season lasts from April to July.

What does common oatmeal eat?

The basis of the poultry diet is vegetable feed. Most of all, oatmeal prefer grains of cereals and seeds of various herbs:

  • plantain,
  • yarrow,
  • cornflower,
  • dandelion,
  • forget-me-nots,
  • clover,
  • peas,
  • chippings,
  • stinging nettle,
  • fescue,
  • bluegrass.

Birds need protein during the breeding season, so they begin to eat small invertebrates:

Chicks are fed with mixed feed, bringing them half-digested food in the crop.


ITIS mentions the following subspecies:

  • Emberiza schoeniclus caspia
    Menetries, 1832
  • Emberiza schoeniclus centralasiae
    Hartert, 1904
  • Emberiza schoeniclus harterti
    Sushkin, 1906
  • Emberiza schoeniclus incognita
    (Zarudny, 1917)
  • Emberiza schoeniclus intermedia
    Degland, 1849 - Corsica, Italy and the Adriatic coast. Part of this population overwinters in Algeria and Tunisia.
  • Emberiza schoeniclus korejewi
    (Zarudny, 1907)
  • Emberiza schoeniclus pallidior
    Hartert, 1904
  • Emberiza schoeniclus parvirostris
    Buturlin, 1910
  • Emberiza schoeniclus passerina
    Pallas, 1771
  • Emberiza schoeniclus pyrrhulina
    (Swinhoe, 1876)
  • Emberiza schoeniclus pyrrhuloides
    Pallas, 1811
  • Emberiza schoeniclus reiseri
    Hartert, 1904
  • Emberiza schoeniclus schoeniclus
    (Linnaeus, 1758)
  • Emberiza schoeniclus stresemanni
    F. Steinbacher, 1930
  • Emberiza schoeniclus tschusii
    Reiser & Almasy, 1898 - Danube Valley in Bulgaria and Romania to southern Ukraine
  • Emberiza schoeniclus ukrainae
    (Zarudny, 1917)
  • Emberiza schoeniclus witherbyi
    Von Jordans, 1923 - Iberian Peninsula and South of France
  • Emberiza schoeniclus zaidamensis
    Portenko, 1929


Birds are widespread over the vast territory of Europe, Iran and the western part of Siberia. Prefers to nest in the south of the Iberian Peninsula, along the coast of France and the shores of the Balkan Peninsula, in the south of Italy. In the north, it can fly to the Scandinavian countries and the Kola Peninsula, in Russia to the valleys of the Yenisei and Ob rivers.

The long nesting border passes through southern Moldova, Ukraine and goes around the northern part of the Taganrog Bay, then stretches to the lower reaches of the Ilovlya River. Separate nesting site

located in the Caucasus and Transcaucasia, which extends to the Iranian mountains.

The common bunting was deliberately resettled from England (1862) to New Zealand. Due to the abundance of food in winter and a small number of predators, bunting began to actively reproduce here. If the number of individuals in Europe has decreased over the past few years, then in New Zealand, on the contrary, the population has increased. According to the last calculations of scientists, the density of nesting birds on the islands is 3 times more than in England.

In the eastern nesting areas, the bird sometimes interbreeds with the white-capped bunting, thereby forming hybrid populations.


The bird's habitats are different forests and forest-steppe, where they are mainly distributed in dry areas with rare woody vegetation. In the forest, he prefers to settle on forest edges, clearings with young vegetation, as well as along the railway line, under power lines, in the floodplains of rivers and lakes, on the outskirts of various swamps and fields. Often oatmeal settles in forest plantations

He is not afraid of people and does not avoid, if conditions are favorable for life, then he settles within the city. During the nesting period, it stops in quiet and inaccessible places, for example, in ravines, embankments, ditches. In winter, oatmeal can be found on the outskirts of populated areas, in harvested fields and vegetable gardens. At the time of the use of horse traction, in the winter she fed on oats in the yards and near the stables.

The bird is able to climb mountains up to the subalpine belt. There she prefers to be among the bushes.

Notes (edit)

  1. 12Boehme R.L., Flint V.E.
    A five-language dictionary of animal names. Birds. Latin, Russian, English, German, French / Under total. ed. acad. V.E.Sokolova. - M .: Rus. lang., "RUSSO", 1994. - P. 397. - 2030 copies. - ISBN 5-200-00643-0.
  2. According to the encyclopedic dictionary of Brockhaus and Efron, the names were also used in the 19th century swamp sparrow
    reed sparrow
  3. Kamyshnik // Brockhaus and Efron Encyclopedic Dictionary: in 86 volumes (82 volumes and 4 additional). - SPb., 1890-1907.
  4. 12345
    Encyclopedia of Brem. Cane oatmeal
  5. 1234567Boehme R. L., Kuznetsov A. A.
    Birds the size of a sparrow and smaller // Birds of open and near-water spaces of the USSR: Field guide. - M .: Education, 1983 .-- S. 151. - 176 p.


In nature, oatmeal feeds on plant seeds and insects. Poultry oatmeal brings great benefits to agriculture by destroying insect pests and weed seeds. In a home environment, these birds are fed grain mixture

from canary grass, millet, oatmeal and weed seeds.


are a favorite oatmeal treat, so they are also included in the diet of pets. During the period of feather change, the diet of oatmeal poultry should be maximally enriched with animal proteins.This includes food for insectivorous birds, a variety of grain mixes, larger portions of mealworms, and plenty of sprouted grains and fresh greens. During this period, birds are vital
mineral feed,
which should be offered to them separately from other types of food.

Common Bunting (Emberiza citrinella) nest


  • Vertebrates of Russia: Reed Bunting
  • Birds of Central Siberia. Cane oatmeal
  • Electronic atlas-identifier of birds. Reed Bunting
  • Site for nature lovers "Shumkar". Reed Oatmeal Articles
  • Birds of Kazakhstan. Reed, or reed, oatmeal
  • Reed or reed (reed) oatmeal
  • Reed Bunting (Sakhalin)
  • Cane oatmeal
  • Oatmeal. Description of birds


The common bunting, like most of its other species, belongs to the sedentary birds. The representatives of the family while away the winter in the Mediterranean countries and the warm regions of Western Europe. The flocks return home in March and April. Gathering in groups, buntings often unite with their congeners finches, sparrows and other types of small birds. Moving in groups, they find food for themselves and look for reliable shelter.

Bunting chooses open spaces as habitats: places where trees were cut down, steppe, fields and edges. Birds relate to humans in confidence, therefore they often stop in urban and rural areas. Sedentary species of buntings winter in fields and vegetable gardens, finding food for themselves in the form of the remnants of the harvest of field crops.

Features of nests

The bunting bird tries to place its nests in young coniferous growth or on the edges of the forest, like all individuals of this species, avoiding enemies, settles in the forest. Having decided to have offspring, the bird chooses a suitable depression in the grass stand among the bushes, where it begins to equip the nest, which does not spend much time on. Mainly dry stems and leaves of cereals are used as building material, to which a small amount of moss and lichens is added to provide greater strength.

Oatmeal - the bird, the photo of which is given in this article, prefers to add large soaked stems of herbaceous plants to the structure of the nest, the ends of which remain not woven around the edges, carefully masking the dwelling from prying eyes. At the same time, the bird pays the greatest attention to the bottom of the nest, carefully lining it with small roots and horse hair. In the event that the arrangement of the nest occurs during a rainy period, the oatmeal tries to maximize the number of hairs in the nest so that the chicks feel much more comfortable.

Since the bunting bird makes a nest like a small bowl, its diameter does not exceed 130 mm with a height of 80 mm. At the same time, the depth of the tray of 50 mm provides the chicks with the proper degree of protection, preventing them from falling out of the nest.


Despite the fact that the common bird, the bunting, is most famous, there are a very large number of species of this bird in the world. The most famous among them are:

  • Aspid.
  • White-capped.
  • Mountain.
  • Dubrovaya.
  • Yellow-browed.
  • Yellow-throated.
  • Bile.
  • Reed.
  • Red-eared.
  • Oatmeal crumb.
  • Oatmeal Remez.
  • Ogorodnaya.
  • Collar.
  • Polar.
  • Millet.
  • Redhead.
  • Red-necked.
  • Sadovaya.
  • Gray-headed.
  • Blackhead.
  • Black-throated.

They are found almost everywhere in the warm southern regions, although for the most part they are quite rare birds, which, despite their bright color, can be difficult to notice.