Head, throat, and fore part of the neck, black: back and scapulars reddish brown, with dusky streaks.
E. SchoBniculus, Temm. Man. d'Orn. torn. 1. p. 307. Reed-Bunting, Mont. Orn. Diet. Selb. Illust. vol. 1. p. 290. pl. 52. f. 3. Bew. Brit. Birds, vol. 1. p. 176.
Entire length six inches: length of the bill (from the forehead) four lines and a half, (from the gape) five lines and a half; of the tarsus ten lines; of the tail two inches seven lines; from the carpus to the end of the wing three inches one line: breadth, wings extended, nine inches eleven lines.
(Male in Summer). Crown of the head, occiput, cheeks, throat, and upper part of the breast, deep black: a white streak from the corner of the bill downwards joining a collar of the same colour encircling the nape and sides of the neck: back, scapulars, and wing-coverts, reddish brown, with a dusky spot in the middle of each feather: rump and upper tail-coverts bluish ash, tinged with brown: sides of the breast, belly, and under tail-coverts, white; flanks with a few longitudinal dusky streaks: quills dusky, edged with reddish: tail black; the two middle feathers broadly edged with rufous; the two outer ones on each side obliquely marked with white towards their extremities, the shafts and tips black: bill black; feet dusky. In Winter the black feathers on the head, throat, and breast, are edged with reddish brown. (Female). Crown of the head reddish, with dusky spots: above the eye a pale streak of yellowish brown: throat whitish, bordered on each side by a black line: breast and flanks tinged with reddish, and spotted with dusky: nape and sides of the neck brownish ash: the rest much as in the male bird. The young of both sexes are very similar to the adult female. (Egg). Purple white ground, sparingly streaked with dark purple brown: long. diam. nine lines and a half; trans, diam. seven lines.
Common in marshy districts, and by the sides of rivers, in most parts of the kingdom. Feeds on the seeds of aquatic plants, and occasionally on aquatic insects. Song simple and inharmonious. Nest generally placed on the ground, and concealed amongst rushes; constructed of stalks, and other dry vegetable substances, and lined with fine grass, and a scanty supply of long hairs. Eggs four or five in number; incubation commencing about the first week in May. Occasionally a second brood in July.