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Emberizidae facts for kids

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American Tree Sparrow
Spizella arborea
Scientific classification

Vigors, 1831

Emberizidae is a large family of passerine birds, which are typically known as buntings in the Old World and American sparrows in the New World. They are seed-eating birds with a finch-like bill.

These birds are not closely related to the (Old World) sparrows, the family Passeridae. The family also includes the North American birds known as juncos and towhees.

The Emberizidae family probably originated in South America and spread first into North America before crossing into eastern Asia and continuing to move west. This explains the comparative paucity of emberizid species in Europe and Africa when compared to the Americas.

Like wih several other passerine families, this family's taxonomy is in a state of flux. Many genera in South and Central America are more closely related to tanager clades, and at least one tanager genus (Chlorospingus) may belong here in the Emberizidae.

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