Painted BuntingPasserina ciris

adult male
Brian E. Small/VIREO
adult female
Rick and Nora Bowers/VIREO
immature (1st winter)
Greg Lasley/VIREO
immature male (1st winter)
Rolf Nussbaumer/VIREO
adult male
Brian E. Small/VIREO
adult male
Brian E. Small/VIREO
Painted Bunting
Painted Bunting

Family

Description

5 1/2" (14 cm). Sparrow-sized. Perhaps North America's most colorful bird: male has bright red underparts and rump, green back, blue head, and red eye ring; female bright green all over, paler below.

Voice

Loud, clear, and variable song consisting of a series of high-pitched musical notes. Call is a sharp, metallic tsick.

Listen

song #2
song #1
female chips (alarm)
male chips and song

Habitat

Brushy tangles, hedgerows, briar patches, woodland edges, and swampy thickets.

Range

Breeds from Missouri and North Carolina south to the southeastern states and west to New Mexico and Oklahoma. Winters from Gulf Coast states southward.

Discussion

This gaudy bird is one of the most beautiful in North America. Its brilliant plumage made it a popular cage bird until it came under federal protection; it is still sold in the markets of Mexico and the West Indies. Despite its vivid coloration, however, it is often difficult to see as it skulks among dense thickets, although in Florida, at least, it often comes to feeding stations. Its other well-known name is "Nonpareil," meaning "without equal." This species, common in parts of the Deep South, raises as many as three broods each year. The female is one of the few bright green birds in North America.

Nesting

3 or 4 white eggs, marked with reddish-brown dots, in a cup of compactly woven grass stems, rootlets, and bark strips, lined with moss and hair, placed near the ground in the fork of a bush or small tree.

Similar Species

adult male, Eastern

Summer Tanager

7-8" (18-20 cm). Male solid rose-red with pale bill. Female pale olive green above, dull yellow below. Male Northern Cardinal has black face, conical red bill, and crest. See Hepatic Tanager.

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.

Vireo

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