A sparrow-sized bird of reedbeds, wetlands and farmland, the Reed Bunting feeds on seeds and invertebrates. In the winter, Reed Buntings join mixed-species flocks of buntings, finches and sparrows to feed on seed in farmland. During the breeding season, males can be spotted perched high on reeds, rushes or scrub, voicing their simple three-note territorial call. Females nest low in the dense vegetation, constructing the nest from grass, reeds and moss. If a predator comes close, it may be drawn away by one of the adults acting as if injured.
How to identify
Reed Buntings are streaky, brown birds. The males have black heads and black throats, with a white collar and white 'moustache'. Female buntings, including female Yellowhammers and Reed Buntings, can be very difficult to tell apart.
Where to find it
When to find it
How can people help
Since the 1970s, the UK's breeding population of Reed Buntings has decreased dramatically by 67% - a decline mirrored by many of our farmland birds. The drainage of our wetlands, changes in agricultural practices and urban development have all had detrimental effects on farmland birds, but The Wildlife Trusts are working closely with farmers and landowners to promote wildlife-friendly practices. We are working towards a 'Living Landscape': a network of habitats and wildlife corridors across town and country, which are good for both wildlife and people. You can support this greener vision for the future by joining your local Wildlife Trust.