Credit Nick Goodrum 1/5
Credit Elizabeth Dack 2/5
Male reed bunting by Elizabeth Dack 3/5
Credit David Thacker 4/5
Credit Elizabeth Dack 5/5

Reed bunting Emberiza shoeniclus

A sparrow-sized bird of reedbeds, wetlands and farmland, the reed bunting feeds on seeds and invertebrates. In the winter, reed buntings join mixed flocks of buntings, finches and sparrows to feed on seeds on farmland. During the breeding season, males can be spotted perched high on reeds, rushes or scrub, voicing their simple, three-note territorial call. Females breed low in the dense vegetation, constructing their nests from grass, reeds and moss. If a predator comes close, it may be drawn away by one of the adults acting as if injured.

Conservation status

Classified in the UK as Amber under the Birds of Conservation Concern 4: the Red List for Birds (2015). Protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981. Priority Species under the UK Post-2010 Biodiversity Framework.

Related questions & advice

What should I do if I find dead birds?


Did you know? Reed buntings will sometimes visit garden bird tables, especially in cold winters.
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