Common name for any of about 50 species of finch, 40 of which are found in the Old World genus Emberiza, as well as certain similar species found in the New World. All belong to the family Fringillidae, and many are recognizable by strongly patterned heads or bright colours. Emberiza species are seed eaters that commonly breed in temperate Eurasia and from northern Africa to India. The snow bunting (Plectrophenax nivalis) breeds in the far north, and the lark bunting (Calamospiza melanocorys) inhabits the U.S. Great Plains. U.S. species include the indigo bunting (Passerina cyanea) and the painted bunting (P. ciris). The male painted bunting, with red, green, and blue feathers, is the most colourful bird that breeds in the U.S.
Painted bunting (Passerina ciris)—E.R. Degginger/EB Inc.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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