Painted Bunting: Colorful, medium-sized bunting. The male (shown in background) has a bronze-green back, bright red eyering, rump and underparts. Head and nape are blue. Wings are dark with green shoulder patches. The female (shown in foreground) has green upperparts, yellow-green underparts and dark wings. The juvenile resembles female, but is duller. Feeds on seeds, insects and caterpillars. Short, low flight; alternates rapid wing beats with wings pulled to sides.
Range and Habitat
Painted Bunting: Breeds from Missouri and North Carolina south to the southeastern states and west to New Mexico and Oklahoma. Spends winters from the Gulf coast states southward. Preferred habitats include brushy tangles, hedgerows, briar patches, woodland edges, and swampy thickets.
The Painted Bunting is one of the most brilliantly colored and visually striking birds in all of the United States. It is the only bird in the U.S. to have a blue head and red underparts.
The Painted Bunting’s species name, ceris, comes from the Greek myth of Scylla, who was turned into the bird keiris.
The USGS recorded a 60% decline in population from coastal Georgia between 1966 and 1995. Decline has been attributed to loss of breeding habitat due to urban development, increased nest parasitism by Brown-headed Cowbirds and several problems attributed to climate change.
A group of painted buntings are collectively known as a "mural" and a "palette" of buntings.
The Painted Bunting has two distinct ranges; the first extending from northern Texas to northern Mexico with a winter range in southwestern Mexico and the second, eastern population ranges from the Atlantic coastal areas of Florida to North Carolina with a winter range in south Florida to the Caribbean. This bird can be found primarily in arable land, degraded forest and shrublands of higher altitude. The global population of this bird is estimated to be around 3,600,000 individual birds. Currently, the population has demonstrated a nearly 55% decrease in the past thirty years. Due to this, population trends for the Painted Bunting have a present evaluation level of Near Threatened.