Vaalnest reviews the Bunting, Cinnamon-breasted bird

Posted by Collen on Tue November 17, 2015 in Birding in Vaal Marina.

The cinnamon-breasted bunting (Emberiza tahapisi) is a species of bird in the Emberizidae family.

It is found in Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ivory Coast, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Yemen, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Its natural habitats are dry savannah, subtropical or tropical dry shrubland, and subtropical or tropical dry lowland grassland, additionally this exquisite, dark-coloured bunting is a common resident and partial migrant on rocky slopes in grassland and open woodland.

It mainly eats seeds and insects, mainly foraging on bare ground among rocks, occasionally plucking food from grass and hawking termite alates aerially. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:

  • Seeds
  • Grasses specifically Aristida (bristle grasses)
  • Melinis repens (Natal redtop)
  • Forbs
  • Insects specifically Coleoptera (beetles) and termite alates


Monogamous solitary nester, building a shallow cup of grass, rootlets and fine twigs on a foundation of large twigs, neatly lined with fine grass and rootlets. It is typically placed in a shallow depression in the ground at the base of a grass tuft or rock, on an earthen bank, in a crevice in a small rock face or among scattered rocks in a hollow. Egg-laying season is from October-June, peaking from January-April. It lays 2-4 eggs, which are incubated by both sexes for about 12-14 days. The chicks are fed by both parents on a diet of mostly seeds, leaving the nester after approximately 14-16 days.






Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG 2005. Roberts - Birds of southern Africa, VIIth ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town.

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