Bird Sightings : Hebrides : Reed Bunting
Male Reed Bunting
(Fen Sparrow, Reed Sparrow)
Caelic: Gealag Lòin
Photograph © Grahame Thompson
Aiginish - Isle of Lewis - Outer Hebrides (Western Isles)
October 7th, 2006
Grahame is one of two British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) ringers on the Isle of Lewis, he does the East side. His usual areas are the Castle Grounds and Aiginish, plus a whole heap of other sites depending on time of year and species.
Our Reed Bunting photographs
- Reed Bunting
- Emberiza schoeniclus
- UK: Resident Breeder, Passage/Winter Visitor
- UK: RED LIST (major decline), 202,000 pairs (Summer) BTO
- UK: Fairly common resident breeder (100-999 breeding pairs) Uists & Benbecula, uncommon (10-99 breeding pairs) breeder Lewis & Harris
- Breeding: Reedbeds & drier open areas, moorland. Tussocks & bushes. Europe, Asia, North Africa
- Habitat: Reedbed, other wet vegetation, riverine scrub (recent times - also farmland & gardens in winter)
- Diet: Seeds in sedges, reed, rushes. Also insects in breeding season
- Sparrow-sized, slim. Long & deeply notched tail. Male black head & throat, white collar & below. Drooping moustache. Females & winter males: streaked brown head, streaked below. Flight: tail looks black with broad, white edges. Singing male usually perches at top of bushes, reeds.
- Max recorded age 9yrs 11mth, average 3yrs
- Listen to a Reed Bunting (RSPB site)
- Similar birds: Lapland Buntings
Distinguishing between winter male and female Reed Buntings
You can see a little black left in the head of some of the winter male Reed Buntings (in summer the head of the male is all black with a white "moustache"). The female's head is never black.
The females are more buff below, the males whitish.
You will notice no eye stripe in the male either and much richer colouring of the mantle, back and wings. (Terry Fountain)
Less than half the chicks raised by a pair of Reed Buntings are fathered by the pair male. The lowest recorded rate in any bird species.
Reed Bunting records in the Western Isles
Fairly common resident breeder (100-999 breeding pairs) Uists & Benbecula, uncommon (10-99 breeding pairs) breeder Lewis & Harris
Source: Outer Hebrides Bird Report (2001)
On the chart below the darker the shade of blue the more abundant the Reed Bunting is during a month or the more likely you are to see it.
(Source: Outer Hebrides Birds Checklist)
Other local bird photographs
Sources of information for the bird sightings section