basic information

Northern Reed Bunting

Emberiza schoeniclus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Камышовая овсянка | Қамыс сұлыкеші

Pavlodarskaya obl., Nazarovka
© Oleg Lyakhov


The thin-billed Reed Buntings breeds in northern parts of Kazakhstan, the thick-billed Reed Buntings breeds in southern parts. In all territory occurs on migration, but in southern Kazakhstan also in wintering. Please see detailed distribution in the section Subspecies.


Common breeding migrant (northern thin-billed group of subspecies wintering in south Kazakhstan) or resident (southern thick-billed group of subspecies). Inhabits bush thickets on marshes (northern group) or reed-beds and riparian thickets (southern group), on migration thin-billed birds occurs on meadows with bushes, in shelterbelts, thickets of tall weeds and in reed-beds; the thick-billed birds in summer occurs in the willow bushes where they breed rarely. In southern Kazakhstan in spring the thin-billed birds begin to migrate from March until mid-April, latest birds observed in early May. In central and northern regions of Kazakhstan Reed Buntings appear in early April, most of birds migrate in second half of April, the latest ones recorded in mid-May. Breeds in separate pairs, pretty close from each other. Nest is located on the ground or on the marsh tussock, and accurate camouflaged by the grass; or in reeds low above the ground or water level. Nest is built from the dry grass and leaves and is lined by the rootlets and hair (thin-billed group); or from the reed leaves and is lined by the reed brooms and thin stems (thick-billed group). Clutch of 4-6 eggs is laid in end of April – mid-June. For 13 days mainly female incubates clutch with some male’s participation. Re-nesting after the loss of first clutch is common. Can rear two broods per year too. Autumn migration begins in September, from northern regions Reed Buntings disappear in end of October. Thick-billed subspecies migrate not so far, as thin-billed ones.


Emberiza schoeniclus schoeniclus (Linnaeus, 1758)

    Description. Bill is as in passerina, short and thin. Upperparts are darker, black strips on mantle are broader, light borders on mantle feathers are more brownish-buff, less pure-buffy, the streaks on body-flanks are more black, less buffy than in passerina.
    Distribution. Widespread in Kazakhstan on migration, winters in north to Mangyshlak, Syrdarya valley and in lower course of Karatal River. Details of distribution not investigated.

Emberiza schoeniclus passerina (Pallas, 1771)

    Description. Bill is short and thin, as in schoeniclus. Upper parts is lighter, black strips on mantle is narrower, light borders of mantle feathers are pure-buffy, less brown-buffy; flanks streacks are more buffy, less black than in schoeniclus.
    Distribution. Widespread in Kazakhstan on migration; wintering in north to Mangyshlak, Syrdarya valley, Kurgaldzhino lakes and in lower course of Karatal river. Details of distribution are not investigated.

Emberiza schoeniclus pallidor (Hartert, 1904)

    Description. Bill is thicker and more massive than in schoeniclus and passerina. Upperparts are lighter than in passerina. Black strips on mantle as in passerina. Light borders on mantle feathers are buffy and lighter than in passerina.
    Distribution. Breeds in northern Kazakhstan, in south to Chapaevo village in Ural valley, Turgay, Kokchetav upland and Irtysh valley in Osmoryzhskaya village area. In end of May 1996 observed in Kalbinskiy Altai in Sibinka valley. On migration occurs everywhere. Winters in the south of Kazakhstan, in north to Mangyshlak, Syrdarya valley and lower current of Karatal river. Details of distribution not investigated.

Emberiza schoeniclus pyrrhuloides (Pallas, 1811)

    Description. Bill is much thicker and more massive, ridge of upper mandible is much more bulging, than in other races. Upperparts are lighter, than in other races, with the whitish shade of light feather borders on mantle.
    Distribution. Breeds in southern part of Kazakhstan, in north to Kamysh-Samar lakes, upper reaches of Emba river, Aksuat lake in Naurzum Reserve, lower valley of Irgiz and Turgay rivers, Tassuat lake in Karaganda area and Alakol depression. It summer recorded in lower Ilek valley. From northern breeding range disperse to south. Details of distribution not investigated.

Emberiza schoeniclus harterti (Sushkin, 1906)

    Description. Bill is a little less thick and massive than in pyrrhuloides, but thicker than in other races. Black mantle streaks are broader; light feather borders on mantle are darker, more buffy and less whitish than in pyrrhuloides.
    Distribution. Breeds in Eastern Kazakhstan, in north to Kalbinsky Altai, Chernyy Irtysh valley and Zaysan depression. Details of distribution on migration and in winter not investigated.


Gavrilov E. I., Gavrilov A. E. "The Birds of Kazakhstan". Almaty, 2005. Э.И.Гаврилов. "Фауна и распространение птиц Казахстана". Алматы, 1999. В.К.Рябицев. "Птицы Урала, Приуралья и Западной Сибири". Екатеринбург. Издательство Уральского университета, 2000.



Emberiza schoeniclus schoeniclus
(Linnaeus, 1758)
Emberiza schoeniclus passerina
(Pallas, 1771)
Emberiza schoeniclus pallidor
(Hartert, 1904)
Emberiza schoeniclus pyrrhuloides
(Pallas, 1811)
Emberiza schoeniclus harterti
(Sushkin, 1906)

other names

Тростниковая овсянка

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