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Birdwatching in Africa - Cinnamon-breasted Bunting or Cinnamon-breasted Rock-bunting, Emberiza tahapisi

The Cinnamon-breasted Bunting (Emberiza tahapisi), or Cinnamon-breasted Rock-bunting, is a species of bird in the family Emberizidae.

Distribution and habitat
Having a very widespread distribution, cinnamon-breasted buntings are found across most of mainland sub-Saharan Africa but avoiding deserts, equatorial forest, and the high altitudes of mountains. They can be found in rocky, lightly wooded hillsides with sparse vegetation and bare soil but can sometimes be found in woodlands.

There is some degree of partial migration with certain populations moving north during the rainy season and south during the dry season as well as moving to lower elevations during winter.

Range map from

Range map
Range map from - Ornithological Portal is one of those MUST visit pages if you're in to bird watching. You can find just about everything there

Taxonomy and systematics
Cinnamon-breasted buntings (Emberiza tahapisi) are also known as the cinnamon-breasted rock bunting or African rock bunting. They are small passerines in the genus Emberiza, which consists of other Old World buntings. There have been some discrepancies regarding the relation to other species and subspecies.

Six subspecies of the cinnamon-breasted bunting have been recognized, including:

• E. t. goslingi

• E. t. septemstriata

• E. t. arabica

• E. t. insularis

• E. t. tahapisi

• E. t. nivenorum

However, recent mitochondrial analyses of African buntings suggest that the Gosling's bunting (Emberiza goslingi) should be treated as a separate species. E. t. septemstriata is also believed to be a hybrid between the nominate species and Gosling's bunting. Alternate scientific naming includes Fringillaria tahapisi.

They weigh between 11.6 and 21 grams with a length of 13-15 centimeters. Although plumage differs between juveniles, males, and females, cinnamon-breasted buntings can be identified by their striped head and cinnamon brown underparts. Males have black and white stripes whereas the female stripes are less dark and browner in color.

The throat patch is uniformly black on males but smaller, grayish, and densely blotched on females. Juveniles are similar to females but with buffier head stripes and a paler, browner throat. After the breeding season, juveniles moult partially and adults moult completely so all primaries and secondaries are the same age.

Cinnamon-breasted bunting songs are composed of short, high-pitched, rapid trills. Males are known to have eight distinct songs with 40 discrete syllables. Song similarity decreases with distance between local populations but all end with a characteristic final whistle syllable. Individuals perform songs from elevated positions such as from trees, bushes, or rocks.

Length: 13 - 15 cm
Weight: 11,6 - 15 g
Distinctive Feature
Similar Species

From opus at the forum for wild birds and birding.

Listen to the Cinnamon-breasted Bunting

Remarks from the Recordist

Recorded with my ZOOM H5 Handy Recorder. High Pass Filter applied with Audacity

Sitting next to the dust road when we are driving down to Jemma Valley

Behavior and ecology
Breeding time varies depending on the rainy season of the region. In arid regions with light rainfall, the breeding season will occur throughout the rainy season but in regions with heavier rainfall, the breeding season occurs at the end of the rainy season.

They are monogamous but solitary nesters. The nest is built from twigs and grass and typically placed on the ground in a shaded area. Incubation and care for young is performed by both males and females. Incubation lasts 12–14 days and offspring fledge 14–16 days post-hatch but continue to feed in parental territory for three weeks. The clutch size is 2-4 and the eggs are greenish- or bluish-white with dark brown or reddish-brown speckles.

Cinnamon-breasted buntings are ground gleaners that primarily eat seeds but have also been known to eat insects, especially in captivity. They will also sometimes jump to pull seeds. Chicks are fed seeds and insects by parents.

They are commonly spotted alone or in pairs but also flock in groups of 3-4, and even 6-8 but less frequently so. However, migrating birds can be found in flocks of 40. Tail flicks are a common behavior that defines Emberiza and is used while hopping on the ground to make them more conspicuous to mates and other birds.

Courtship behavior includes males chasing the female through the air, males bringing nest materials to nest and making “nest shaping movements”, and females quivering their wings while making a special repeating eep sound.

Aggressive behavior includes a head forward position with bill snapping or gaping, with bill snapping occurring more frequently when fear is stronger than aggression.

When fighting, special chaa, eee, and chu chatter sounds are made. Fear responses include freezing and observing when the perceived threat level is low, fleeing, and making alarm calls. Higher intensity behavior includes mobbing.

Relationship to humans
Cinnamon-breasted buntings may occasionally enter towns and in some countries they are caught for cagebird trade but adapt well in captivity.

According to the IUCN, they are categorized as least concern. However, their range has expanded since 1985 due to climate change and habitat fragmentation.

Conservation status
Conservation status
Least Concern (IUCN 3.1)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sighted: 25 October 2019 (Date of first photo that I could use)
Location: Lemi, Ethiopia

Cinnamon-breasted Bunting or Cinnamon-breasted Rock-bunting, Emberiza tahapisi
Cinnamon-breasted Bunting or Cinnamon-breasted Rock-bunting
25 October 2019 - Lemi, Ethiopia

Cinnamon-breasted Bunting or Cinnamon-breasted Rock-bunting, Emberiza tahapisi
Cinnamon-breasted Bunting or Cinnamon-breasted Rock-bunting
25 October 2019 - Lemi, Ethiopia

Cinnamon-breasted Bunting or Cinnamon-breasted Rock-bunting, Emberiza tahapisi
Cinnamon-breasted Bunting or Cinnamon-breasted Rock-bunting
25 October 2019 - Lemi, Ethiopia

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