Passerina amoena
(Lazuli Bunting)

Order: Passeriformes
Order Description: Passerines
Family: Cardinalidae
Family Description: Cardinals, Grosbeaks, & Buntings

Physical Description:
5-5 1/2" (13-14 cm). Male has bright turquoise head and back; tail blackish; wings blackish with two white bars; breast rusty; belly white. Female is brown, paler below, dark tail, dark wings with buffClick word for definition bars; tinged blue on primaries, rump, and tail.

Similar Species- Male Western Bluebird, Indigo, Varied, and Painted buntings, female Blue Grosbeak.

Song consists of a number of short whistled notes followed by longer whistles: sweet-sweet chew-chew seet chew.

Breeds from southern British Columbia, east to southern Saskatchewan and sections of midwestern U.S., and south to southeastern California, northwestern Baja California, southern Nevada, southwestern Utah, central Arizona, northern New Mexico, and western Oklahoma. Winters from southern Arizona (scarce), south to portions of Mexico.

Found in arid, brushy areas in canyons, riparian thickets, chaparralClick word for definition and open woodlands. During migrationClick word for definition and in winter, found in open, grassy and weedy areas. Results of Idaho study conducted in cottonwood forest found bunting most strongly associated with dense shrub layers, a willow subcanopy, and herbaceousClick word for definition ground cover; species also avoided grazed areas.

Species feeds on insects (grasshoppers, caterpillars, beetles, ants, etc.), and seeds (wild oats, canary grass, needlegrass, etc.).

Nests in shrub. After breeding, may form flocksClick word for definition and move to higher elevations.

Breeding begins late March in southern range, early June in north. Female incubatesClick word for definition 3-5 eggs for 12 days. Nestlings are altricialClick word for definition and downy, are either tended by both parents or by female, and leave nest in 10-15 days.

Element Code: ABPBX64020
Status: Protected nongame species
Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S5,NTMB
National Rank: N5B

Important State References:
Saab, V.A. 1996. Influence of spatial scale and land management on habitat use by breeding birds in cottonwood forests of southeastern Idaho. Ph.D. Dissertation, Univ. Colorado, Boulder. 140pp.

Original images provided by Jason Karl and C. Trost,© 2000
Design by Ean Harker©1999, 2000.
Written by Jason Karl, 2000.