Rustic Bunting – Accepted

1. 07–08 Jan 1984


Stone Lagoon HUM




2. 25–27 Nov 1988


Half Moon Bay SM




3. 07–10 Nov 1993


vic. Cantil KER



Fig. 305, ph., AB 48:160, Erickson & Terrill (1996)

4. 23 Dec 1995–17 Mar 1996


Hoopa HUM



Fig. 306, ph.


Rustic Bunting – Not submitted

18 Nov 1965


vic. Upland SBE



Garrett & Dunn (1981)

04 Feb 1999


Arcata bottoms HUM



Harris (2006)








Figures 305, 306 (above, below). Only four Rustic Buntings have been found in California, two in late fall and two in winter. The bird on the top is a fall vagrant photographed on 9 November 1993 near Cantil, Kern County (1993-162; Matthew T. Heindel), and the bird on the bottom wintered at Hoopa, Humboldt County, where it was photographed on 7 January 1996 (1996-008; Sean McAllister). Each photo shows a stout-billed, sparrow-like bird with a buffy supercilium and thick, reddish brown streaking that forms a “V” shape on the breast. The top photo shows better this bunting’s prominent, dark submoustachial throat stripe, whereas the bottom photo depicts the characteristic small pale spot at the rear of the auricular.











Rustic Bunting

RUSTIC BUNTING Emberiza rustica Pallas, 1776

Accepted: 4 (100%)

Treated in Appendix H: no

Not accepted: 0

CBRC review: all records

Not submitted/reviewed: 2

Large color images: see Figures

This bunting breeds from northern Scandinavia east across central and northern Eurasia to Kamchatka and northern Sakhalin. The species winters mainly in eastern China, Korea, and Japan, but small numbers regularly reach western China and southern Kazakhstan (Byers et al. 1995). In the Old World vagrants are scarce, but increasing (Vinicombe and Cottridge 1996), west to the Middle East, British Isles, Svalbard, and Iceland (Byers et al. 1995). In the western Aleutian Islands the species is a rare, regular vagrant, occurring primarily in spring. The species becomes casual farther east—including records from Adak, the Pribilof Islands, and St. Lawrence Island—and southward along the Pacific slope, including two records from southern Alaska, seven from British Columbia, three from Washington, and two from Oregon.

Both the Los Angeles Times and New York Times reported on California’s first Rustic Bunting, a bird photographed on 7–8 January 1984 at Stone Lagoon in Humboldt County. This winter record has been followed by two in late fall—one of them far south in Kern County—and one involving a bird that definitely overwintered. The timing of California’s records is consistent with that of other vagrant Rustic Buntings on the Pacific slope.

Bradshaw (1991) provided information on identifying Little and Rustic Buntings in the field.


[YELLOW-BREASTED BUNTING Emberiza aureola Pallas, 1773 – see hypothetical section]