Crested bunting

Melophus lathami

TAXONOMY

Emberiza lathami J. E. Gray, Canton, Kwangtung, China. Two subspecies are little different and not recognized by all authors.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

French: Bruant huppé; German: Haubenammer; Spanish: Pinzón Capitón.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

6.5-7 in (16.5-17 cm); 0.63-0.88 oz (18-25 g). Sexes differ in color. Males are blackish with a prominent crest and rusty wings and tail, which is black-tipped; females are brown, crested, and have rusty edges to the wing and tail feathers. Juveniles are paler than females with thin streaks on the breast.

DISTRIBUTION

M. l. lathami is resident in central, southeast, and southwest China south to North Vietnam. M. l. subcristatus is resident from western Pakistan east through northern India, Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan, and Myanmar. There is some altitudinal migration.

HABITAT

Inhabit rocky, grassy hillsides with sparse shrubs and dry rice paddies in China. In southeast China they often nest in tea fields.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Monogamous. Nesting takes place between April and August during the local wet season. The nest is a neat cup of woven grass placed on the ground under vegetation or a rock or in a crevice. They lay three to five eggs; no data on incubation and fledging. Both parents feed the young.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

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