Arguably, this is the toughest bird in this month’s ID Challenge. It is creeping around on the ground, looking long tailed, yet chunky, with a thick, seedeater’s bill, which, combined with all those streaks and ‘interesting’ plumage, cries out bunting. We have a few species in the UK, but only a couple show so much yellow tone to their plumage. Reed Buntings and Corn Buntings would never look as washed with yellow as this. So, of the regular UK birds, we can narrow it down to the widespread Yellowhammer and the highly localised Cirl Bunting. Males are easy, but this is a female. The white tips to the median coverts, the greenish rump, chestnut-toned shoulders and the stripy face all point to this being a female Cirl Bunting.
KEY FEATURES Attenuated bunting-like structure; long tail Yellow in plumage, Striped head White in wing and greenish hint to rump