Status: Widespread resident of wetlands throughout Ireland.
Conservation Concern: Green-listed in Ireland. The European population has been evaluated as Secure.
Identification: Typical bunting in size and shape, with chunky bill and long tail. Adult summer males have a black neck and throat, with a prominent white collar on the neck and a small white stripe from the bill to the neck. The underparts are off-white with some faint black streaking on the flanks. The back and wings are rather cryptically streaked black and brown. In adult winter males much of the white collar and black throat is moulted to a pale brown. The head is dark brown with a small white eyering. Adult summer female Reed Buntings appear much like winter males, but have extensive black streaking on the underparts and lack the white collar. Lacks the white eyering. Adult winter females/first-winters have a dark brown crown, broad buffy supercilium and pale brown stripe from the bill to the neck. Otherwise as for adult summer female.
Similar Species: Other Bunting species.
Call: Most frequently heard call is a short "ziu". The song is one of the distinctive sounds of spring and summer wetlands - a short three part phrase: "si zu zizi".
Diet: Feeds on various seeds and grains, as well as insects during the breeding season.
Breeding: A common breeding bird in wetlands with some reedbed areas or in boglands and less frequently in young conifer plantations.
Wintering: Largely resident, though may gather in small flocks at favoured sites, such as winter stubble fields.
Where to See: Widespread in Ireland. The East Coast Nature Reserve is a good site to see Reed Buntings in Ireland, especially in spring and summer.
Monitored by: Countryside Bird Survey and BirdTrack.