Pine Bunting Emberiza leucocephalos

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A large brown bunting of open environments, from forest edges and clearings to hillsides and agricultural land. Breeding male is very handsome, warm brown overall with a bright white cheek patch and crown; listen for his buzzy song in the summer. Breeding female has largely white underparts and a dirtier white ear with a gray cast on her back. Wintering adults are darker and streakier, but retain the head patterning. Immature birds can be confusing, as they lack the large white cheek patch, and may be confused with Rustic Bunting; look out for a weaker crest, faint streaking on the belly, and a gray ear patch with a white dot near the end. Hybridizes frequently with Yellowhammer where ranges overlap, and nonbreeding adults can look very similar; note absence of any yellow tones. Often gathers in flocks outside of the breeding season, sometimes with other species.



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