Definition of cirl bunting in English:

cirl bunting


  • An Old World bunting related to the yellowhammer, the male of which has a distinctive facial pattern and a black throat.

    • ‘Terns dive-bomb sand eels just beyond the swell, and cirl buntings chirp in the blackthorn hedges along the coastal path, one of my favourite places for watching grey seals hunting pollock in the kelp.’
    • ‘These habitats support species such as the chough in Cornwall, cirl buntings in South and East Devon and the heath fritillary butterfly on Exmoor.’
    • ‘Also under threat are the cirl buntings known to frequent Kerswell Downs.’
    • ‘In the long term, ensure a wider geographical spread of the cirl bunting by re-establishing populations outside the current range.’
    • ‘A trial release in Devon proved successful, with cirl buntings surviving the winter and joining the wild population.’
    • ‘A Countryside Stewardship Special Project has been in operation for cirl bunting in south Devon since 1994.’
    • ‘The population of cirl buntings has increased six-fold over the past 14 years, from 118 pairs to nearly 700.’
    • ‘However, one of the fields that attracts cirl buntings was poor yielding because it is on the coastline and receives a lot of salt spray, and so winter cropping was not viable.’
    • ‘While there is no room for complacency, the revival of the cirl bunting has been a real success story.’
    • ‘From autumn through to early spring large flocks of cirl buntings may be seen in the hedgerows.’
    • ‘Stubbles and arable field margins not only benefit cirl bunting but also a wide range of other species, including many insects, birds and small mammals.’
    • ‘The cirl bunting population has decreased dramatically over the past 100 years, and by 1989 the population was estimated at a mere 118 pairs, with a subsequent modest recovery.’
    • ‘The introduction of winter-sowing has thus been inimical to both cirl buntings and skylarks, leading to the loss of overwinter stubbles and dense cereal swards.’
    • ‘In March cirl buntings begin to pair up and start prospecting for nest sites.’
    • ‘As well as benefiting cirl buntings and other wildlife the scheme has also helped enhance business viability and farmers optimism about the future.’


Late 18th century: cirl from Italian cirlo, probably from zirlare ‘whistle as a thrush’.


cirl bunting