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Emberiza tahapisi (Cinnamon-breasted bunting, Rock bunting) 

Klipstreepkoppie [Afrikaans]; Undenjenje, Undenzeni [Xhosa]; umDinasibula [Zulu]; ’Maborokoane [South Sotho]; Mvemvere [Shona]; berggors, zevenstrepen-gors [Dutch]; Bruant cannelle [French]; Bergammer, Siebenstreifenammer [German]; Escrevedeira-das-pedras [Portuguese]

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Tetrapoda (four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota > Reptilia (reptiles) > Romeriida > Diapsida > Archosauromorpha > Archosauria > Dinosauria (dinosaurs) > Saurischia > Theropoda (bipedal predatory dinosaurs) > Coelurosauria > Maniraptora > Aves (birds) > Order: Passeriformes > Family: Fringillidae

Emberiza tahapisi (Cinnamon-breasted bunting, Rock bunting)

Emberiza tahapisi (Cinnamon-breasted bunting, Rock bunting)

Cinnamon-breasted bunting, Kruger National Park, South Africa. [photo Trevor Hardaker ©]

Cinnamon-breasted bunting, Hammanskraal, South Africa. [photo Peet van Schalkwyk ©, see also scienceanimations.com]

Distribution and habitat

Occurs across much of sub-Saharan Africa, from Senegal to Ethiopia through the DRC, Tanzania, Zambia, Angola and Malawi to southern Africa. Here it is uncommon to locally very common in Zimbabwe extending into western and northern Mozambique, the eastern half of South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, eastern Botswana and north-western and central Namibia. It generally prefers mountainsides, rocky ridges, dolerite and granite outcrops with scattered bushes and trees, bare rocky clearings in woodland, eroded stony slopes and gullies, dry watercourses and deserted borrow pits and quarries.

Distribution of Cinnamon-breasted bunting in southern Africa, based on statistical smoothing of the records from first SA Bird Atlas Project (© Animal Demography unit, University of Cape Town; smoothing by Birgit Erni and Francesca Little). Colours range from dark blue (most common) through to yellow (least common). See here for the latest distribution from the SABAP2.  

Movements and migrations

Largely resident, with some populations (especially in Zimbabwe and north-eastern South Africa) undertaking a northerly Winter migration from November-May.


It mainly eats seeds and insects, mainly foraging on bare ground among rocks, occasionally plucking food from grass and hawking termite alates aerially. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:

  • Seeds
    • grasses
      • Aristida (bristle grasses)
      • Melinis repens (Natal redtop)
    • forbs
  • Insects


  • Monogamous solitary nester, building a shallow cup of grass, rootlets and fine twigs on a foundation of large twigs, neatly lined with fine grass and rootlets. It is typically placed in a shallow depression in the ground at the base of a grass tuft or rock, on an earthen bank, in a crevice in a small rock face or among scattered rocks in a hollow.
  • Egg-laying season is from October-June, peaking from January-April.
  • It lays 2-4 eggs, which are incubated by both sexes for about 12-14 days.
  • The chicks are fed by both parents on a diet of mostly seeds, leaving the nester after approximately 14-16 days.


Not threatened.


  • Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG 2005. Roberts - Birds of southern Africa, VIIth ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town.