Common Reed Bunting

Amidst the swaying reeds and rippling waters of wetland habitats, the Common Reed Bunting flits about, a master of its domain. With its striking black and white head and chestnut-brown back, this tiny bird is a true gem of the marshes and wet meadows it calls home. Its sweet, melodic song fills the air, a welcome symphony amidst the tranquil beauty of its surroundings. As it perches delicately on a swaying stem, the Common Reed Bunting is a reminder of the beauty and diversity of the natural world and the importance of protecting and preserving its delicate ecosystems.

Common NameCommon Reed Bunting
Scientific NameEmberiza schoeniclus
Colour (s)Brown, black, and white
Average Length14 – 16 cm
Average Height15 – 17 cm
Weight18 – 22 g
Type of BirdPasserine, perching bird
Origin country (ies)Europe and Asia
Month it comes to IndiaNovember – February
Location in IndiaNorthern India and the Himalayan region
IUCN statusLeast Concern


The Common Reed Bunting, also known as the Reed Sparrow, is a small passerine bird that belongs to the Emberizidae family. This bird is characterized by its distinctive features, colors, and physical attributes.

The male Common Reed Bunting is easily recognizable with its black head, white collar, and a rusty-brown back. It has a stout, conical beak, which is perfect for cracking seeds and other small food items. The female, on the other hand, is less striking in appearance, with a streaky brown body and a light brown head.

In terms of size, the Common Reed Bunting measures around 13-14 cm (5-6 inches) in length, with a wingspan of 22-26 cm (9-10 inches). It weighs approximately 15-20 grams, which is roughly the weight of a handful of paperclips.

The Common Reed Bunting is not known for its speed, but it is a skilled climber and hopper. Its strong legs allow it to grip onto reeds and other vegetation while foraging for food. This bird is also a good swimmer, and can take to the water if necessary.

In terms of habitat, the Common Reed Bunting prefers wetland areas with tall reed beds, marshes, and riverside vegetation. It can be found in Europe, Asia, and parts of Africa. The bird feeds primarily on seeds, but will also consume insects and other small invertebrates.

Habitat and Food

Common Reed Buntings are commonly found in reed beds and other tall vegetation near water, such as lakes, rivers, and marshes. They also occur in wet grasslands, fens, and other damp habitats with a mix of vegetation.

Reed Buntings are granivorous birds, meaning that their diet primarily consists of seeds. During the breeding season, they feed on a variety of seeds, including those from grasses, sedges, and other wetland plants. They also feed on insects and other invertebrates, which provide an important source of protein for their growing young.


The birds originate from their breeding grounds in northern and eastern Europe and Asia, where they breed in wetlands, reed beds, and other marshy habitats.

The Common Reed Bunting typically arrives in India between September and November and stays until March or April before returning to their breeding grounds. During their winter migration, the birds are found in various parts of India, including the northern plains, the Himalayas, and the northeast.

The purpose of the Common Reed Bunting’s migration to India is primarily to escape the harsh winter conditions in their breeding grounds, where food and resources become scarce. In India, they find suitable habitats with an abundance of food resources such as seeds, insects, and other invertebrates.

During their stay in India, the Common Reed Bunting can be seen in a variety of wetland habitats, including marshes, paddy fields, and reed beds. The birds are known to breed in some parts of India, including the Himalayas, where they build their nests in dense vegetation near water sources.

The Common Reed Bunting typically leaves India in March or April, when the winter season comes to an end and the breeding season begins in their northern breeding grounds. The migration of the Common Reed Bunting to India is an important natural phenomenon that highlights the importance of wetland habitats for the survival of migratory bird species.

IUCN Status

The IUCN Red List classifies the Common Reed Bunting as a species of least concern, indicating that its population is stable and not facing any major threats to its survival.

Despite its stable population, the Common Reed Bunting is still vulnerable to various threats, including habitat loss and degradation. This species is highly dependent on reed bed habitats for breeding, nesting, and foraging. The loss and degradation of reed bed habitats due to human activities such as drainage, land-use changes, and pollution can have significant impacts on the Common Reed Bunting population.

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