Painted Bunting (Passerina ciris)

Painted Bunting

[order] PASSERIFORMES | [family] Cardinalidae | [latin] Passerina ciris | [UK] Painted Bunting | [FR] Pape de Louisiane | [DE] Papstfink | [ES] Gorrion cabeziazul | [NL] Purpergors


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Passerina ciris NA s, se USA West Indies, MA
Passerina ciris ciris
Passerina ciris pallidior

Physical charateristics

The most gaudily colored North American songbird. Male: A little bird the size of a Chipping Sparrow; a patchwork of blue-violet on head, green
on back, red on rump and underparts. Female: Very plain; greenish above, paling to lemon-green below; no other small bird is so uniformly green.

Listen to the sound of Painted Bunting

[audio: Bunting.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 21 cm wingspan max.: 23 cm
size min.: 12 cm size max.: 13 cm
incubation min.: 11 days incubation max.: 12 days
fledging min.: 8 days fledging max.: 9 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 2  
      eggs max.: 5  


North America : South, Southeast USA. The Painted Bunting breeds in the southeastern United States and in northeastern Mexico, and winters in Florida, the Bahamas, Cuba and Mexico south to Costa Rica and western Panama.


Woodland edges, roadsides, brush, towns, gardens. Favors semi-open areas with dense low growth at all seasons. Breeds around thickets, hedgerows, woodland clearings and edges, and undergrowth of op
en woods. Winters in similar habitats in Florida, plus areas of scrub and second growth in the tropics.


To defend territory, male sings from a raised perch, often partly hidden among foliage near treetop. Males will also engage in serious physical fights, probably in disputes over territorial boundaries. Males may have more than one mate.
Nest: Placed in dense bushes, vines, or low in trees, usually 3-9′ above the ground, sometimes higher. Nest (built by female) is open cup woven of grass, weeds, leaves, lined with fine grass, rootlets, and animal hair.

Eggs: 3-4, sometimes 5. Whitish to bluish white or pale gray, with reddish brown spots often concentrated at larger end. Incubation is by female only, 11-12 days.
Young: Nestlings are fed by the female. Young leave the nest about 12-14 days after hatching, and male may take over feeding them if female begins second nesting attempt. 2 broods per year, sometimes 3, perhaps rarely 4.

Feeding habits

Mostly seeds and insects.
Reported to feed mainly on seeds, primarily those of grasses and weeds; sometimes eats berries and fruits. Also eats many insects, including beetles, caterpillars, grasshoppers, flies, true bugs, and others. Probably eats more insects in early summer, an
d feeds them to its young.
Behavior: Forages mostly on the ground. Also does some foraging up in shrubs and low
trees. During migration, may forage in mixed flocks with Indigo Buntings. In winter in Florida, will come to feeders placed close to good cover.


This species has declined over the long term and apparently continues to do so at a moderately rapid rate. It is therefore considered to be Near Threatened.
Loss and intensification of habitat through urban development, road building and agricultural intensification, and capture for the cagebird trade are the primary threats, with part of the declines also being attributed to brood-parasitism by Brown-headed Cowbird. Trapping and sale in local markets occurs in Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, and overseas to international markets in Europe, South America and Asia.
Painted Bunting status Near Threatened


Southern United Sta
tes, northeastern Mexico. Winters to Panama. Migration: Those nesting on southern Atlantic Coast probably winter in Florida and northwestern Caribbean; those nesting farther west probably winter in Mexico and Central America.

Distribution map

Painted Bunting distribution range map

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