Lapland Bunting

Lapland Bunting

Scientific name: Calcarius lapponicus

Did you know: The Lapland Bunting, a delightful bird found in the UK, is also known by its alternative name, the Lapland Longspur.

What Do Lapland Buntings Look Like? (how to identify them)

Lapland Buntings are charming birds, slightly larger than Reed Buntings. They can be identified by their distinctive head patterns, with a chestnut-coloured nape and wing panels. 

These birds are ground dwellers and are usually observed in small-sized flocks. In summer, the males boast a striking black face, throat, and crown.

Differences Between Male And Female Lapland Buntings

Male Lapland Buntings transform remarkably during the breeding season, exhibiting a black head, throat, and flanks, contrasted with a white eyestripe and chestnut nape. 

Females, while similar in markings, display less intense colouring, with streaked throat and paler facial markings. Both sexes moult into a sparrow-like plumage outside the breeding season, with males having a more orange-brown head and rusty wing panels.

What Do Lapland Buntings Eat?

Lapland Buntings have a varied diet primarily consisting of seeds and insects. Their short, stout beaks are perfectly adapted for cracking open hard seed shells. 

During summer, their diet shifts to include more insects like crane flies and beetles, supplementing it with caterpillars and spiders. The young are initially fed insects before gradually transitioning to seeds.

Where Do Lapland Buntings Live? (inc. migration info)

These birds are winter visitors to the UK’s coastal fields and saltmarshes. They arrive from Arctic breeding grounds around late August and early September, with their numbers varying annually. 

Their preferred UK locations are the north-east and east coasts, though they’re also spotted in the south, west, and over the Irish Sea. Some migrate to France for wintering, returning to breeding grounds in March.

Bird Calls & Songs (the unique voices of Lapland Buntings)

The male’s song, particularly during the breeding season, is a melodious, rapid, and loud rolling call. They also emit wheezy alarm calls and a distinct ‘prrrt’ call in flight, which serves as a contact call between the sexes.

Fun Lapland Bunting Facts (kid friendly)

  • Lapland Buntings can change their look dramatically between seasons.
  • They are ground dwellers but are surprisingly good at flying long distances.
  • These birds can eat up to 10,000 seeds and insects in a day during summer!
  • They have a unique long hind claw, which is why they’re also called ‘longspurs’.
  • Amazingly, some flocks in winter can contain millions of Lapland Buntings.
  • Despite being elusive, they are one of the most abundant songbirds in North America’s Arctic regions.
  • In the UK, they are a rare and exciting sight for birdwatchers.
  • Lapland Buntings have a special way of singing at night during the breeding season.
  • They are protected species in both the US and UK, highlighting their importance to the ecosystem.
  • The oldest recorded Lapland Bunting lived for at least five years.

Facts About The Lapland Bunting

Diet: Seeds.
Bird Family: Buntings
Length: 15-16cm
Wingspan: 25.5-28cm
Weight: 20-28g
Scientific Name: Calcarius lapponicus

The Lapland Bunting Can Be Seen In The UK During The Following Months

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

Lapland Bunting Images

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