The cirl bunting,Emberiza cirlus, is a passerine bird in the bunting family Emberizidae, a group now separated by most modern authors from the finches, Fringillidae. The cirl bunting is like a small yellowhammer, 15-16.5 cm in length with a thick seed-eater's bill. The male has a bright yellow head, with a black crown, eyestripe and throat, and a greenish breast band across its otherwise yellow underparts, and a heavily streaked brown back. The female is much more like the yellowhammer, but has a streaked grey-brown rump and chestnut shoulders.The monotonous song of the cock is rattling trill, like Arctic warbler or the terminal rattle of lesser whitethroat.In the summer their natural food consists of invertebrates for example grasshoppers and crickets to feed their chicks. In the winter they feed on small seeds from over-wintered stubbles, fallow land, set-aside, and the over-winter feeding of stock with grain or hay. They tend to feed in flocks during the winter. Two to five eggs are laid, which show the hair-like markings characteristic of buntings.The ideal farmland habitat is a mixture of grass and arable fields, divided by thick hedgerows with pockets of dense scrub.They can tolerate a certain degree of urbanisation, and are found in green spaces in towns and cities, even Rome.
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