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Painted Bunting

Passerina ciris


Cardinalidae, the grosbeak family.


Southeastern United States through Mexico and Central America.


Hedgerows, briar patches, woodland edges and swampy thickets.


The painted bunting is one of the most brilliantly colored and visually striking birds in the United States, and the only bird in the U.S. to have a blue head and red under-parts.

Colorful, sparrow-sized birds with bronze-green backs and bright red rumps and under-parts, they have blue heads and napes, red eye-rings and dark wings with green shoulder patches.

In winter they eat mostly seeds, and in summer, invertebrates. They forage on the ground, stripping seed from grass stalks or snatching insects from spider webs.

Eggs and chicks are predated on by rodents, owls, hawks and climbing snakes, as well as house cats. Cowbirds lay eggs in their nests, pushing out the bunting eggs.

They are monogamous. Three to five light blue eggs with red brown markings are laid in a cup nest made of grass stems, rootlets and bark strips, lined with moss and hair, built near the ground in a bush or small tree. Incubation is from 11 to 12 days and is carried out by the female.

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