My 21 BUNTINGs!

The buntings are a group of Old World passerine birds forming the genus Emberiza, the only genus in the family Emberizidae. The family contains 45 species in the world. 

In Mongolia, 21 species of true buntings (Emberiza) were recorded. On top of that, 2 species of Longspurs (Lapland longspur and Snow bunting), formerly considered as buntings, are winter visitors. No longer treated as a bunting despite its name, Snow Bunting is now considered a 'longspur' along with Lapland Bunting. Together the two species form their own family Calcariidae in a separate New World (and now circumpolar) lineage from the true buntings (birdguides.com).

After ticking off endangered Jankowski’s Bunting in the autumn of 2020 (thanks to MBCC's discovery of a breeding site), I completed seeing all 21 buntings that are recorded in Mongolia in the wild. Here I excluded Black-headed bunting (only one unproven record at Numrug in 1994 – so far east from its regular breeding range) due to its unreliable first record.

Some of these species are comparatively rare and occur only in a small corner of the country. For instance, Red-headed and Rock Buntings are found exclusively in southwestern Mongolia. Most of Jankowski's, Japanese reed and Yellow-throated buntings records are from far eastern Mongolia. Other species are fairly common. 

Each species adapted to different environments ranging from lush forests, meadows to steppe and arid mountains. About 8 species that breed eastern part of the Siberian taiga, pass through mostly eastern Mongolia during migration. So can be observed in the spring and autumn. However, they could be breeding deep into the Khentii mountain taiga where extensive ornithological studies lack. Grey-necked and Godlewski's buntings breed in the arid mountains of Altai and Khangai. 

Bunting has always been one of my favorite families of birds besides owls. So seeing all species of buntings in the country was a truly incredible feeling and achievement for me. Following are the images of 21 Species of Buntings that are all taken in Mongolia. The collection only lacks a Rock bunting photo that I currently don't have. I have seen it really well once in western Mongolia unfortunately didn't have a camera with me at that time. 

If anyone wants to join a tour for buntings, go to the tour page! 

Any comments on subspecies of Pallas's, Common Reed and Meadow Buntings are welcome. I will add photos of females for other species soon! ENJOY!!

№ 1. Male Chestnut Bunting (Emberiza rutila) © Bolormunkh Erdenekhuu

№ 2. Male Red-headed Bunting (Emberiza bruniceps) © Bolormunkh Erdenekhuu

№ 3. Male Black-faced Bunting (Emberiza spodocephala) © Bolormunkh Erdenekhuu

№ 3. Female Black-faced Bunting © Bolormunkh Erdenekhuu

№ 4. Male Yellow-breasted Bunting (Emberiza aureola) © Bolormunkh Erdenekhuu

№ 4. Female Yellow-breasted Bunting © Bolormunkh Erdenekhuu

№ 5. Male Pallas's reed Bunting (Emberiza pallasi) © Bolormunkh Erdenekhuu

№ 5. Female Pallas's reed Bunting © Bolormunkh Erdenekhuu

№ 6. Male Common reed Bunting (Emberiza shoeniclus)  © Bolormunkh Erdenekhuu

№ 6. Female Common reed Bunting © Bolormunkh Erdenekhuu

№ 7. Male Tristram's Bunting (Emberiza tristrami) © Bolormunkh Erdenekhuu

№ 8. Male Yellow-throated/Elegant Bunting (Emberiza elegans)  © Bolormunkh Erdenekhuu

№ 9. Male Yellow-browed Bunting (Emberiza chrysophrys) © Bolormunkh Erdenekhuu

№ 10. Yellowhammer (Emberiza citrinella) © Bolormunkh Erdenekhuu

№ 11. Male Pine Bunting (Emberiza leucocephalos)  © Bolormunkh Erdenekhuu

№ 12. Male Jankowski's Bunting (Emberiza jankowskii) © Bolormunkh Erdenekhuu

№ 12. Female Jankowski's Bunting © Bolormunkh Erdenekhuu

№ 13. Male Chestnut-eared Bunting (Emberiza fucata) © Bolormunkh Erdenekhuu

№ 14. Adult Male and female Meadow Buntings (Emberiza cioides) © Bolormunkh Erdenekhuu

№ 15. Male Little Bunting (Emberiza pusilla) © Bolormunkh Erdenekhuu

№ 15. Adult female Little Bunting (Emberiza pusilla) - the background © Bolormunkh Erdenekhuu

№ 16. Male Rustic Bunting in non-breeding plumage (Emberiza rustica) © Bolormunkh Erdenekhuu

№ 17. Male Ortolan Bunting (Emberiza hortulana) © Otgonbayar Baatargal

№ 18. Grey-necked Bunting (Emberiza buchanani) © Bolormunkh Erdenekhuu

№ 19. Godlewski's Bunting (Emberiza godlewskii) © Bolormunkh Erdenekhuu

№ 20. Rock Bunting (Emberiza cia) © 

№ 21. Male Japanese reed Bunting (Emberiza yessoensis)  © Bolormunkh Erdenekhuu

Male Lapland Longspur (Calcarius lapponicus) © Bolormunkh Erdenekhuu

Female Lapland Longspur (Calcarius lapponicus) © Bolormunkh Erdenekhuu

Bunting migration in Eastern Mongolian steppe. May 2022 © Bolormunkh Erdenekhuu