Bird of the Week – Week 77 – Cape bunting

The Cape bunting is a fairly small bird, just 16 cm in length, and is often to be seen foraging on the rocky and fairly open ground along quieter roadsides.  It is a near endemic to the southern African region and is fairly widespread throughout Namibia and South Africa but is rather strangely absent from most of Botswana.  Outside of the designated southern African region its range stretches into southern Angola and Zambia.  It prefers arid scrubland and rocky hillsides, and may also be found in quieter gardens where it becomes quite accustomed to the presence of humans.

Cape bunting

The Cape bunting has a black crown, white supercilium and white and black striped face;  uper parts are grey-brown with some dark streaks;  wings are chestnut; under parts are grey and the throat is pale;  the bill is black;  eyes are brown and legs and feet dark horn-coloured.  The sexes are alike in size and similar in plumage colouration, although females have buffy, rather than white, head markings.

Cape bunting

The Cape bunting is fairly common within most of its range and is usually found singly or in pairs, or in small groups, but seldom in larger flocks.  Its call is repetitive and whistle-like, often made by the male from a prominent perch.

It forages on the ground, particularly on open rocky ground, feeding on seeds, insects and spiders.

Cape bunting

The Cape bunting is monogamous, building a cup nest of grass, twigs and roots and is usually placed on the ground or low down in a bush.  The female lays a clutch of two to five white or pale bluish-green eggs that hatch after an incubation period of approximately 15 days.

Cape bunting

The scientific binomial for the Cape bunting is Emberiza capensis; Emberiza from the Greek for a “bunting” and capensis from the Latin for “from the Cape (of Good Hope)”.  Thus a bunting from the Cape of Good Hope.  Can’t say better than that.

Cape bunting

 

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