The hilly part of the province of Piacenza, characterised by cultivated areas alternating with woods, hedges, uncultivated areas and rocky outcrops, is certainly where buntings are most easily spotted. Buntings are small birds, the size of a sparrow, that like open ecotonal environments.
In the province of Piacenza six species of bunting nest; five of them are found in the hills and at the foot of the mountains.
The meadows and uncultivated areas of the plain and the hills are the typical environment of the corn bunting (Miliaria calandra), the largest and least brightly coloured, characterised by a plumage similar to the lark.
The yellowhammer (Emberiza citrinella), with lemon yellow plumage, the cirl bunting (Emberiza cirlus), where the male has a shiny black bib contrasting with his yellow breast, and the ortolan bunting (Emberiza hortulana) with its monotonous and melancholic song, on the other hand, are found in open and shrubby areas of the hills, where they build their nests.
The ortolan bunting is the only summer species, arriving here in May and leaving at the end of the summer.
The rocky areas above 800-1000 metres are the ideal environment for the rock bunting (Emberiza cia). The male has head plumage in contrasting black and grey, while its song is weaker and more modulated than that of other buntings.