Vaalnest reviews the Bunting, Cape bird

Posted by Collen on Tue November 10, 2015 in Birding in Vaal Marina.

The Cape bunting (Emberiza capensis) is a passerine bird in the bunting family Emberizidae. Here are more facts about this common bird.

The Cape bunting occurs in southern Africa from south-western Angola, eastern Zambia, Zimbabwe and southern Tanzania to the Cape. Its habitat is rocky slopes and dry weedy scrub, mainly in mountains in the north of its range. It previously utilized stony arid areas with some short grass, but much of this has been lost to ploughing. Here are a few features to look out for when spotting this bird:

  •  The Cape bunting is 16 cm long.
  • The adult has a black crown, white supercilium and black-bordered white ear coverts.
  • The upperparts are grey brown with some dark streaks, and the wing coverts are chestnut.
  • The tail is darker chestnut, and the underparts are grey with a pale throat.
  • The sexes are very similar, but females may have a buff tone to the white head markings.
  • Young birds have duller chestnut wings, a less distinct head pattern, and heavier streaking extending on to the breast and flanks.
  • The call is an ascending zzoo-zeh-zee-zee. The song is a loud chirping sound.

The Cape bunting is not gregarious, and is normally seen alone, in pairs or family groups. It feeds on the ground on seeds, insects and spiders. Its lined cup nest is built low in a shrub or tussock. The two to four eggs are cream and marked with red-brown and lilac.







BirdLife International (2012). "Emberiza capensis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.

Byers, Olsson and Curson, Buntings and Sparrows ISBN 1-873403-19-4

Ian Sinclair, Phil Hockey and Warwick Tarboton, SASOL Birds of Southern Africa (Struik 2002) ISBN 1-86872-721-1