The golden-breasted bunting is 15-16 cm long. The adult male has striking head pattern with a white crown, black lateral crown stripes, white supercilium and black-bordered white ear coverts. The underparts are orange-yellow becoming yellow on the throat and whitish on the lower belly. The upperparts are chestnut with a grey rump. The browner wings have two conspicuous white wing bars. The sexes are very similar, but females may have a buff tone to the white head markings and browner head stripes, and the back may have dark streaks. Young birds are duller and paler than the females.

Habitat and Distribution

It occurs in dry open woodlands in Africa south of the Sahara, but is absent from the equatorial forest belt. This species is found in a variety of open woodlands. Flavigaster favours acacia steppe and savannah, with the other subspecies occurring in a wider range of lightly wooded country including gardens. This species is generally resident, but there appears to be degree of local movement. It is often quite tame.


he golden-breasted bunting is not gregarious, and is normally seen alone, in pairs or small groups. It feeds on the ground on seeds, insects and spiders, animal prey being taken mostly when the birds have young.


The golden-breasted bunting builds an untidy cup nest lined with fine grass or hair low in a shrub or sapling. The two or three eggs are glossy white or cream and marked with black lines. The eggs hatch in 12-13 days and the chicks fledge in another 16-17 days.

Calls and Songs

The golden-breasted bunting?s call is a nasal ascending zzhrr. The song is variable, but includes a weechee weechee weechee.