Endangered birds sighted in China

A flock of yellow-breasted buntings were recently sighted in Henan Province of central China. It is a critically endangered species. Researchers from Yellow River national nature reserve witnessed more than 80 yellow-breasted buntings in the rice field.

Yellow-Breasted Buntings

He scientific name of the buntings is Emberiza aureola. It is a passerine bird from the bunting family Emberizidae. It is found across the Boreal and East Palearctic.  Till the year 2004, this bird was classified under the “least concerned” category as per the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Since 2004, it is classified under the Critically Endangered category of the red list of IUCN because of its declining population sizes. This bird is hunted in China heavily.


The bird is a small passerine. It is 14 to 16 cm in length. The bird weights 17 to 26 gram. The breeding male has bright yellow underparts. The male has a black face and throat bar and a pink lower mandible. While the female has a heavily streaked grey-brown back. She has a less intensely yellow underparts. She is characterised with the whitish face, a dark crown, eye and cheek stripes.

Breeding and Migration

The bird breeds in the boreal forests of Finland to Bering Sea. It then migrates to Indochina from Amur River to Manchuria. It proceeds to North Korea, Kamchatka and Kuril Islands. It then migrates to south-east Asia, India, and southern China. It is a regular wanderer to western Europe also.


The population of the bird have declined since the early 2000s. It is heavily hunted in China. This decline in population is caused due to substantial trapping during migration mostly at the winter sites. However, some intensified wildlife conservation efforts and improvement of ecosystem in recent years has resulted into surge of the number of wild birds.