The Painted Bunting (Passerina ciris) belongs to the Passerina genus of birds in the Cardinal family Cardinalidae.
The Painted Bunting was one of the many species originally described by Linnaeus in his eighteenth century work, Systema Naturae. There are four recognized subspecies of the Painted Bunting:
- P. c. ciris , the nominate subspecies.
- P. c. pallidior
The male Painted Bunting is often described as the most beautiful bird in North America. Its beautiful colors, dark blue head, green back, red rump and underparts, make it easy to identify. The plumage of female and juvenile Painted Buntings is green and yellow-green, serving as camouflage.
Distribution and habitat
The Painted Bunting is found in thickets, woodland edges and brushy areas, along roadsides, in suburban areas, and gardens. Populations are declining on the East Coast where habitat is being lost to development. The breeding range includes Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia and Louisiana.
Painted Buntings are mostly monogamous and are solitary or in pairs during breeding season. They are shy, secretive and often difficult to see. Males sing from exposed perches and often hop on the ground. The Painted Bunting eats seeds, insects and caterpillars.