Vaalnest Reviews the Bunting, Golden-breasted bird

Posted by Collen on Tue November 24, 2015 in Birding in Vaal Marina.

The golden-breasted bunting (Emberiza flaviventris) is a passerine bird in the bunting family Emberizidae. Let us highlight a few facts about this majestic little bird.

The Golden Breasted is known to occur in dry open woodlands in Africa, south of the Sahara, but is absent from the equatorial forest belt. Other princeps species are similar to the nominate form, but larger, and paler below. E. f. flavigaster is more distinctive, having a paler, redder back, pale grey rump, paler yellow underparts and whiter flanks. This species is found in a variety of open woodlands. Flavigaster favours acacia steppe and savannah, with the other subspecies occurring in a wider range of lightly wooded country including gardens. Here are a few features to lookout for when spotting this bird:

  • The golden-breasted bunting is 15–16 cm long.
  • The adult male has striking head pattern with a white crown
  • Black lateral crown stripes detailing can be found, with white supercilium and black-bordered white ear coverts.
  • The underparts are orange-yellow becoming yellow on the throat and whitish on the lower belly.
  • The upperparts are chestnut with a grey rump.
  • The browner wings have two conspicuous white wing bars.
  • The sexes are very similar, but females may have a buff tone to the white head markings and browner head stripes, and the back may have dark streaks. Young birds are duller and paler than the females.

The golden-breasted bunting is not gregarious, and is normally seen alone, in pairs or small groups. It feeds on the ground on seeds, insects and spiders, animal prey being taken mostly when the birds have young. This species is generally resident, but there appears to be degree of local movement. It is often quite tame.







BirdLife International (2012). "Emberiza flaviventris". 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