Blue BuntingCyanocompsa parellina

adult male
Greg Lasley/VIREO
adult female
Jim Culbertson/VIREO
Blue Bunting

Family

Description

5 - 5 1/2" (13-14 cm). Male is dark blue-black overall, somewhat paler on the crown, rump and shoulders; coloration of the male Indigo Bunting, by comparison, is relatively uniform. Short, thick bill. Female is richer brown than female Indigo, lacks streaking on underparts.

Voice

Call note a hard click or chink. Song a variable warble, sweet but slightly melancholy, swee slee lee.

Habitat

Brushy fields and forests, woodland edges; scrubby thickets. Typically forages low in the forest understory.

Range

Mexican endemic; rare vagrant to lower Rio Grande Valley in Texas.

Discussion

The Blue Bunting is a scarce visitor to extreme southern Texas, and is much sought-after by birders when it appears. Vagrancy patterns in this and other Mexican passerines may be affected by habitat destruction in northern Mexico near the U.S. border; the possibility of escaped cagebirds also must be considered in assessing individual vagrants.

Nesting

2 unmarked, bluish white eggs. No U.S. breeding records.

Similar Species

adult male

Blue Grosbeak

6-7 1/2" (15-19 cm). Slightly larger than a House Sparrow. Male dark blue with 2 chestnut wing bars and a stout, dark bill. Female dark buff-brown with 2 buff wing bars.

adult male, breeding

Lazuli Bunting

5-5 1/2" (13-14 cm). Sparrow-sized. Male bright blue with pale cinnamon breast, white belly and wing bars. Female dull brown, lighter below, with 2 pale wing bars.

adult male

Indigo Bunting

5 1/2" (14 cm). Sparrow-sized. In bright sunlight male brilliant turquoise blue, otherwise looks black; wings and tail darker. Female drab brown, paler beneath.

adult male

Varied Bunting

4 1/2-5 1/2" (11-14 cm). Sparrow-sized. Male dark purple-blue, with a dull red patch on nape; looks all black at a distance. Female dull gray-brown without distinctive markings.

Vireo

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