Buntings and Sparrows
Buntings and North American sparrows offer a great identification challenge. Many of the long distance migrants are notable wanderers, with a strong tendency to vagrancy, while others are rare and local. Some of the Asian buntings and tropical sparrows are still poorly known, and the skulking habits of some species add to the challenge. Most male buntings acquire a bright plumage, but the American sparrows acquire this exceptionally, rather than as the rule. Many sparrows and female buntings appear to be rather dull brown birds, but a closer look will reveal intricate and often quite beautiful plumage; with these birds, the field marks that will enable positive identification are to be found in minute feather detail.
This book is the first comprehensive guide to all the Old World buntings and North American sparrows. It includes 39 plates in full colour depicting all the species and distinct races. In the systematic section each species account is divided into sections: the identification section summarises important field marks; the description section details plumage and bare part characteristics for all ages and sexes; geographical variation covers taxonomy, and other sections give detailed measurements, descriptions of moult and ageing, habits, voice, status and habitat, distribution and movements, and references. A range map is included for each species. This beautifully presented book will for many years to come help solve the identification problems posed by a delightful and sought-after family of birds.
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EXPLANATION OF THE SPECIES ACCOUNTS
HOW TO IDENTIFY BUNTINGS AND NORTH AMERICAN SPARROWS
TAXONOMY AND RELATIONSHIPS
Adult female breeding Adult male breeding Adult male non-breeding Alula areas belly Bill birds Black-headed Bunting blackish-brown breast and flanks breeding season browner buffier buffish buffy Bunting central chestnut colour Common Reed contrasting crown dark centres dark streaking darker duller ear-coverts Emberiza eye-ring eye-stripe First-winter male first-year GEOGRAPHICAL VARIATION Golden-breasted Bunting grass greater coverts grey-brown greyer greyish HABITAT head pattern heavily streaked Iris dark juvenile lateral crown-stripes less Lesser coverts lores malar stripe mandible MEASUREMENTS Wing median coverts median crown-stripe Mexico MOULT AND AGEING nape nominate northern Occurs outer pale buff Pine Bunting plumage post-juvenile moult primary coverts races rectrices Red-headed Bunting Reed Bunting remiges Rock Bunting rufous rufous-brown scapulars sexes similar to adult Snow Bunting southern Sparrow species STATUS AND HABITAT streaked blackish submoustachial stripe supercilium tail feathers Tarsus tertials Text and map throat tinged tips underparts undertail-coverts unstreaked upperparts usually whitish wing-bars winter yellow Yellowhammer