No measurements were taken, except for the weight, which
was 17 g. Size and structure were like Common Reed Bunting
Emberiza schoeniclus, perhaps only a little larger.
Mainly olive green with a grey wash, especially on nape.
Throat yellow. Clearly defined black all around base
of bill. Lores clearly defined black too. White eye
ring, which is broken by lores and very short and faint
black eye stripe behind eye.
Mantle light brownish green with clear black strikes.
Colouration of back not noted. Rump olive green, uppertail
coverts olive grey.
Breast light yellow with olive grey wash, belly light
yellow with some faint greyish striking on flanks, vent
and undertail coverts white.
Rather colourful appearance. Lesser coverts (and shoulders)
olive grey with some black spots. Median coverts black
with white tip, forming a conspicuous wing bar. Inner
greater coverts, and primaries and secondaries with
black centre and coloured fringes. Inner greater coverts
with white tip, forming second wing bar, slightly less
pronounced than the upper wing bar. Colour of fringes
of inner greater coverts fade from olive green to brownish
orange towards the white tip. Outer greater coverts
(or primary coverts) much duller: more dark brownish
instead of black, with only a very narrow lighter fringe
and no white tip. Alula like outer greater coverts.
Secondaries with rusty brown fringes. Primaries the
same, but with narrower fringe and becoming paler towards
the outer side. Primary tips hardly fringed. Tertials
coloured the same as the secondaries, with typical Emberiza
pattern: outer fringe suddenly narrowing towards the
Dark brown / blackish, with lighter fringes and clear
white sides of outer tail feathers, fading towards brown
to the tip of the tail. Outer tail feathers with small,
inconspicuous white tip.
Eye: iris dark brown.
Bill: light grey with some pink at the base.
Legs and feet: flesh-coloured. No further remarks noted.
A high-pitched, very short, clear, quite sharp ‘typical
bunting’ call: zit. Sometimes repeated, forming
a double zit-tit. The birds were heard calling mainly
About half an hour before sunset on all observation
days we saw at least 10 birds quite suddenly falling
in from the sky into the tall grasses, calling frequently.
They obviously used the tall grasses as a common roost.
In the morning of 20 March 2004, 2 birds were seen flying
low over a corn field ca 250 m from the roost, so they
possibly forage in the quite extensive corn fields near
the roost. Banana plantations, shrubby grasslands and
some small forest patches were also present in the area.