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Alex’s Bird Chirp No. 7 – Bunting Family

Golden breasted bunting at Ncwincwi camp
Golden breasted bunting at Ncwincwi camp

Did you know that there are five species of Bunting found in the Southern African region, of which three species are found on our reserve?  (The Golden-breasted Bunting, the Cinnamon-breasted Bunting and the Cape Bunting). The latter two prefer rocky hillside, mountain and escarpment-like habitat similar to our mountain road area in the reserve. The Golden-breasted Bunting is more in the middle escarpment and favours dry woodland and shrubby outcrops similar to where our bush lodges are located in the reserve. Buntings are finch sized small birds (15-16 cm) and are easily identified by their boldly striped heads.

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The Golden-breasted Bunting has a black head with white stripes and a golden to bright yellow breast. The bill is grey on top and pink at the bottom. Seeds form the major portion of the Golden-breasted Bunting’s diet but it does eat some insects. Other than the Cinnamon-breasted Bunting they make their cup nest in a fork in either a bush or tree. It can often be seen alongside the road in the reserve although it tends to keep its back towards you.

Cinammon breasted Bunnting

The Cinnamon-breasted Bunting, which is also known as the Rock Bunting has a black head with white stripes but with a cinnamon coloured breast. The bill is grey on top and yellow at the bottom. It feeds on seeds and insects which it finds on the ground and sometimes take termites in flight. They make their nest on the ground near the cover of a rock or clump of grass. The shallow cup-nest can also sometimes be placed in a crack in some rocks

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The Cape Bunting differs from the Cinnamon-breasted Bunting by having a white head with black stripes and grey not cinnamon breast. Both the upper and lower bill is grey. It feeds mainly on the ground on seeds, but also eats insects and spiders. Its lined cup nest is built low in a shrub and not on the ground like the Cinnamon-breasted Bunting.

Golden breasted Bunting at Ncwincwi camp

Golden breasted Bunting at Ncwincwi camp

Golden breasted bunting at Ncwincwi camp

Golden breasted bunting at Ncwincwi camp

Cape Bunting on Mountain Road

Cape Bunting on Mountain Road