Reed Bunting
Reed Bunting

Scientific NameEmberiza schoeniclus
Fledge Days10-13
Incubation Days12-14
Lifespan3 years
Number of Clutches2-3
Number of Eggs4-7

Bird Family : Buntings

Reed Bunting Facts - Information About Reed Bunting

Reed bunting - Emberiza Schoeniclus

The Reed Bunting is a common breeding resident, it occurs in many habitats, from reed beds, marshlands and lakeside shrubs to arable farmland and gardens. The Reed Bunting is one of six Bunting species that breed in the UK, however three of these are far more localised.



  • Adult males and females have slightly different plumage, head pattern is the main difference.

  • Reed Buntings are medium sized Buntings and measure in at about 15cms.


  • Tail is longish, dark brown with white outer tail feathers, rump is grey, streaked with some streaking, back is dark chestnut with straw coloured braces.

  • Wings are chestnut with darker centres to the feathers.

  • The most obvious feature of the Reed Bunting is the black head with a broad white collar, white moustachial stripe and large black bib.

  • Underparts are greyish white with streaking down the flanks.


  • Female Reed Buntings lack all the black head and bib of the male and instead show a dark brown head with paler eyebrow, pale throat and white moustachial stripe.

  • The collar is grey/brown.

  • Upperparts similar to male but rump is brown/streaked.

  • Underparts are pale greyish buff and heavily streaked.

  • Bill black, legs dark and eye black.


  • Juveniles appear from late April onwards and look very similar to adult females, head pattern not as dark and generally browner, more buffy overall.

Status and Distribution

The Reed Bunting is a very abundant breeding resident in the UK with 200,000 pairs. It occurs in all counties throughout the UK and Ireland.
In winter numbers increase as migrants come to the UK from Continental Europe to escape their cold winters, migrants start to arrive in October to winter in our less severe climate.


Reed Buntings tend to feed on the ground but will visit Bird Tables and Feeders, they occur in all habitat types throughout the UK, woodlands, parks, gardens, farmland, hedgerows and towns but favour wet habitats
If you can coax them into the garden they will happily take Seed Mixes from the ground or Bird Table.


Call notes; most often is a soft buzzing descending ‘shioo’ also a short sharp ‘see’ often repeated.



The following food is favoured by Reed Bunting

Wild Bird Original

Wild Bird Original

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