Red-headed Bunting Emberiza bruniceps


Justification of Red List Category
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified. In Europe, the breeding population is estimated to number 2,300-7,000 pairs, which equates to 4,600-14,000 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015), but Europe forms <5% of the global range.

Trend justification
The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats. The very small European population is estimated to be increasing (BirdLife International 2015).


The species uses isolated patches of bushes on pure steppes as well as semi-desert and desert oases, occupying all kinds of tall herbaceous vegetation and shrubs. It is also characteristic of irrigated farmland where it occurs in areas of scrub, along field borders, groves, canal banks, river valleys and in tree shelterbelts (Hagemeijer and Blair 1997). The breeding season is from May to August. The nest is built by the female, usually in a shrub, near the ground. The clutch, normally two to five eggs, is incubated by the female. The chicks hatch after 10–14 days. They are fed by both parents and leave the nest after 12–13 days. The species takes seeds throughout the year. However, during the breeding season it mainly feeds on a wide variety of small invertebrate species. The species is migratory, wintering mainly in north-central and peninsular India (Copete 2016).


There is no evidence of substantial threats.

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
There are currently no known conservation measures for this species.

Conservation Actions Proposed
No conservation measures are currently needed for this species.


Text account compilers
Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J., Ashpole, J

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Emberiza bruniceps. Downloaded from on 10/06/2023. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 10/06/2023.