Rustic Bunting, Emberiza rustica
Birds of this species nest in the far north of Eurasia, from Scandinavia to eastern Siberia; they mostly winter in China and
Japan. A few individuals are reported every year in the western Alaskan islands, making them the species of the Old World
genus Emberiza most often seen in North America. But they are major rarities in the lower 48 states, so that the bird shown
here, regularly seen in a much-traveled area of Golden Gate Park in San Francisco in the winter of 2014-15, attracted birders
and photographers from near and far.
A male would have black head plumage where this bird is gray-brown, identifying it as female or
immature. The picture above shows a white spot at the rear of the auriculars and another on the nape,
both characteristic of the species. Other identifying marks include the reddish streaking on the flanks,
the narrow pointed bill, and the erected crown feathers.
This picture shows the V-shaped red-streaked breast band characteristic of Rustic Buntings.