Cinnamon-breasted Bunting (Emberiza tahapisi)

It is a bunting with a black-and-orange bill, black-and-brown barred upperparts, and conspicuous cinnamon underparts. This bird occurs mostly solitarily or in pairs and prefers open grounds, such as quarries, gullies, rugged outcrops, moist and arid savannas, and semi-deserts, often identified due to its jarring song.

Read further to know more about the Cinnamon-breasted Bunting.

What is a Cinnamon-breasted Bunting?

Cinnamon-breasted Bunting (Emberiza tahapisi), also called the African Rock Bunting or the Cinnamon-breasted Rock Bunting, is a small passerine bird that comes from the genus Emberiza, constant on Old World bunting. It is timid and best detected through its distinct shrill. While it usually solitary or in pairs, it is occasionally observed in small groups consisting of three to four individuals.

Its seven levels of classification are as follows:

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Aves

Order: Passeriformes

Family: Emberizidae

Genus: Emberiza

Species: E. tahapisi

Cinnamon-breasted Bunting Physical Description

Cinnamon-breasted Buntings are small birds, growing from 5.1 to 5.9 inches, and weighing between 11.6 to 21 grams. Adult plumage is mostly similar for both sexes, identified through their striped head and conspicuous cinnamon underparts. The distinguishable feature between the sexes is that males have black and white stripes, while females stripes are less prominent and browner in tone. Moreover, males have a black throat patch while females have a grayish, speckled one. Juvenile and immature birds’ are identical to the females but have a duller throat and browner head stripes. After each breeding period, adults molt their feathers completely, replacing their primaries and secondaries with fresh plumage.

Where can they be spotted?

Emberiza tahapisi by Derek Keats

Cinnamon-breasted Buntings thrive in rocky locations, favoring ridges, rugged outcrops, mountainsides, and dolerite, with patches of trees and bushes. These birds also occur in rocky slopes, gullies, woodland clearings, dry savannas, arid scrublands, parched grasslands, and sometimes urban areas. They are spread throughout sub-Saharan Africa in Senegal, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Zambia, D.R. Congo, Malawi, Angola, and South Africa.

Interesting Facts You Should Know About the Cinnamon-breasted Bunting

Cinnamon-breasted Buntings forage on bare rocky grounds, looking for seeds from forbs and grasses. Otherwise, they can also feed on insects, such as termite alates and beetles. Juveniles are also supplied with the same food items.

These birds are usually seen alone or in pairs. They may also flock in a group of 3 to 4 members and rarely 6 to 8. However, during migration, they can aggregate up to 40 individuals. A typical behavior among these bunting is tail-flicking, which they use while hopping on the ground, making them stand out to their mates and even other birds.

Whenever they are in antagonistic encounters, they usually freeze, assess the situation, and flee when they detect that threat level is low. Then, make alarm calls for other birds. On the other hand, aggressive behavior occurs with a head forward stance with gaping, bill-snapping, and making chatter sounds.

Cinnamon-breasted Buntings are monogamous and will form strong bonds with their partners. During courtship, usual displays include males pursuing females in flight, collecting nest materials, and performing nest shaping antics. Meanwhile, females shudder their wings and make distinct, repetitive “epp” call notes.

These birds are solitary nesters, and place their nest on the ground under a shade. Nest materials used are grass and twigs. The female will lay 2 to 4 eggs, which both sexes will incubate the eggs for about 12-14 days. Broods will fledge 14-16 days after hatching but will remain in the parental care and territory for another 21 days.

Cinnamon-breasted Buntings are known to enter towns and urban areas occasionally. In certain countries, they are captured for the cagebird trade. The species is currently classified as Least Concern (LC) under the IUCN Red List.





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