cirl bunting defined in 1930 yearcirl bunting - Cirl Bunting;
cirl bunting - Crown olive streaked with black; throat, neck, and band across the eye black; gorget and band above and below the eye bright yellow; breast olive-grey, bounded at the sides by chestnut; belly dull yellow; back brownish red with dusky spots. Female: the distinct patches of black and yellow wanting; the dusky spots on the back larger. Length, six and a half inches.
This bird, in its dress of many colours - chestnut-brown, olive, black and white, and lemon-yellow - is the handsomest of the British buntings. It is an uncommon species, being restricted to the southern and western counties of England, and exceedingly local in its distribution. It is, moreover, of a shy disposition, and hides from sight in tall trees; consequently it is seldom seen, and is known to few persons. It is resident all the year. Its winter movements, if it has any, are not known. The curious fact about this bunting is that its breeding-places, which form small isolated areas, chiefly on or near the south-western coast, remain year after year unchanged. The birds do not nest outside of the old limits, nor do they form fresh colonies in other suitable places.
Hedgerow-elms, and other large trees growing near fields, are favourite resorts of the cirl bunting, and the male takes his stand to sing on a tree-top, just as the yellowhammer does on a furze-bush or hedge-top. His song comes nearest in character to that of the species just named, being composed of several rapidly uttered, short notes, only brighter and more vigorous; but the song is without the long, thin note with which the more common species ends his slight strain. In its nesting habits and in the colour of its eggs it is like the yellowhammer, but its young are fed almost wholly on young grasshoppers.
In summer the cirl bunting lives chiefly on insects, but in autumn and winter it is, like other finches, a seed-eater, and at this season unites in small flocks, and occasionally associates with birds of other species.
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