Black-headed Bunting Emberiza melanocephala


Taxonomic note

Taxonomic source(s)
AERC TAC. 2003. AERC TAC Checklist of bird taxa occurring in Western Palearctic region, 15th Draft. Available at: # _the_WP15.xls#.
AERC TAC. 2003. AERC TAC Checklist of bird taxa occurring in Western Palearctic region, 15th Draft. Available at: # _the_WP15.xls#.
Cramp, S. and Perrins, C.M. 1977-1994. Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The birds of the western Palearctic. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Cramp, S.; Perrins, C. M. 1977-1994. Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The birds of the western Palearctic. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A., Fishpool, L.D.C., Boesman, P. and Kirwan, G.M. 2016. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 2: Passerines. Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.

IUCN Red list criteria met and history
Red List criteria met
Critically Endangered Endangered Vulnerable
- - -

Red List history
Year Category Criteria
2016 Least Concern
2014 Least Concern
2012 Least Concern
2009 Least Concern
2008 Least Concern
2004 Least Concern
2000 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1994 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1988 Lower Risk/Least Concern
Species attributes

Migratory status full migrant Forest dependency Does not normally occur in forest
Land mass type Average mass -
Extent of occurrence (EOO)

Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 6,120,000
Extent of Occurrence non-breeding (km2) 723,000
Number of locations -
Fragmentation -
Population and trend
Estimate Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals 7000000-25999999 poor estimated 2012
Population trend Unknown not applicable -
Decline (3 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (5 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation future) - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation past and future) - - -
Number of subpopulations - - -
Largest subpopulations - - -
Generation length (yrs) 3.6 - - -

Population justification: In Europe, the breeding population is estimated to number 2,470,000-8,160,000 pairs, which equates to 4,930,000-16,300,000 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015). Europe forms c.65% of the global range, so a very preliminary estimate of the global population size is 7,500,000-25,100,000 mature individuals, although further validation of this estimate is needed.

Trend justification: In Europe the overall trend from 1980 to 2011 was uncertain (EBCC 2015).

Country/territory distribution
Country/Territory Occurrence status Presence Resident Breeding Non-breeding Passage
Afghanistan V Extant
Albania N Extant Yes
Algeria V Extant
Armenia N Extant Yes
Austria V Extant
Azerbaijan N Extant Yes
Bahrain N Extant Yes
Bosnia and Herzegovina N Extant Yes
Brunei V Extant
Bulgaria N Extant Yes
China (mainland) V Extant
Croatia N Extant Yes
Cyprus N Extant Yes
Czechia V Extant
Denmark V Extant
Egypt N Extant
Faroe Islands (to Denmark) V Extant
Finland V Extant
France V Extant
Georgia N Extant Yes
Germany V Extant
Greece N Extant Yes Yes
Hong Kong (China) V Extant
Iceland V Extant
Iran, Islamic Republic of N Extant Yes Yes
Iraq N Extant Yes
Ireland V Extant
Israel N Extant Yes
Italy N Extant Yes
Japan V Extant
Jordan N Extant Yes Yes
Kazakhstan N Extant Yes
Kuwait N Extant Yes
Laos V Extant
Latvia V Extant
Lebanon N Extant Yes Yes
Libya V Extant
Malaysia V Extant
Malta V Extant
Montenegro N Extant Yes
Morocco V Extant
Nepal N Extant
Netherlands V Extant
North Macedonia N Extant Yes
Norway V Extant
Oman N Extant Yes
Palau V Extant
Palestinian Authority Territories N Extant Yes Yes
Poland V Extant
Qatar N Extant Yes
Romania N Extant Yes
Russia N Extant Yes
Russia (European) N Extant Yes
Saudi Arabia N Extant Yes
Serbia N Extant Yes
Slovakia V Extant
Slovenia N Extant Yes
South Korea V Extant
Spain V Extant
Sri Lanka V Extant Yes
Sweden V Extant
Switzerland V Extant
Syria N Extant Yes Yes
Thailand V Extant
Tunisia V Extant
Turkey N Extant Yes
Ukraine N Extant Yes
United Arab Emirates N Extant Yes
United Kingdom N Extant Yes

Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA)
Country/Territory IBA Name
Armenia Amasia
Bulgaria Arda Bridge
Bulgaria Byala Reka
Bulgaria Dobrostan
Bulgaria Krumovitza
Bulgaria Melnik Pyramids
Bulgaria Studen Kladenets
Cyprus Adelphoi Forest - Papoutsa
Cyprus Akamas and Agia Aikaterini – Agia Paraskevi Gorges
Cyprus Karpasia Peninsula - Kleides Islands
Cyprus Mahairas Forest - Tzionia
Cyprus Pentadaktylos Mountains
Cyprus Xylourikos Valley
Greece Acherontas gorge and estuary
Greece Akarnanika mountains
Greece Dadia - Dereio - Aisymi forest
Greece Lake Dystos
Greece Mount Mavrovouni, Larisa
Greece Mount Olympos and pine forest of central Lesvos
Greece Mount Ymittos
Greece National Park of Dadia - Lefkimi - Soufli forest
Greece South forest complex of Evros prefecture
Greece Southwestern Lesvos and Petrified forest
Greece Thessaly plain
Greece Zakynthos island
Iraq Amedi and Sulav
Iraq Amedi and Sulav
Iraq Bakhma and Bradost Mountain
Iraq Barzan Area and Gali Balnda
Iraq Benavi and Sararu
Iraq Chami Razan
Iraq Doli Smaquli and Ashab
Iraq Gara Mountain and Garagu
Iraq Hawraman Area
Iraq Mangesh
Iraq Peramagroon Mountain
Iraq Qara Dagh
Italy Argentario, Laguna di Orbetello Lagoon e Lago di Burano
Italy Calanchi della Basilicata
Italy Lake Bracciano and Tolfa hills
Italy River Biferno
Lebanon Shouf Cedars Nature Reserve
Montenegro Lake Skadar
North Macedonia Demir Kapija Gorge
North Macedonia Gradsko-Rosoman-Negotino
North Macedonia Lake Tikvesh
North Macedonia Mariovo
North Macedonia River Pchinja-river Petroshnica-river Kriva Reka
North Macedonia River Topolka-river Babuna-river Bregalnica
North Macedonia Taor Gorge
North Macedonia Tikvesh Region
Syria Jabal Slenfeh
Syria Mount Hermon

Habitats & altitude
Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Artificial/Terrestrial Arable Land suitable non-breeding
Artificial/Terrestrial Arable Land suitable breeding
Artificial/Terrestrial Pastureland suitable non-breeding
Artificial/Terrestrial Pastureland suitable breeding
Artificial/Terrestrial Plantations suitable non-breeding
Artificial/Terrestrial Plantations suitable breeding
Grassland Temperate suitable non-breeding
Grassland Temperate suitable breeding
Shrubland Mediterranean-type Shrubby Vegetation suitable non-breeding
Shrubland Mediterranean-type Shrubby Vegetation suitable breeding
Shrubland Temperate suitable non-breeding
Shrubland Temperate suitable breeding
Altitude   Occasional altitudinal limits  

Purpose Primary form used Life stage used Source Scale Level Timing
Food - human - - - Non-trivial Recent
Pets/display animals, horticulture - - - Non-trivial Recent

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2019) Species factsheet: Emberiza melanocephala. Downloaded from on 23/10/2019. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2019) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 23/10/2019.