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painted bunting

painted bunting (Passerina ciris) [female]
Photo © Alan Murphy Photography

painted bunting (Passerina ciris) [male]
Photo © Alan Murphy Photography

Features and Behaviors

The painted bunting is about five and one-half inches long (bill tip to tail tip in preserved specimen). The male has purple-blue head feathers, green back feathers, red feathers on the rump and underside and a red eye ring. The female and immature painted bunting have green feathers above that shade to lemon-yellow feathers below.

The painted bunting lives in vegetation along rivers, woodland edges and weedy areas where it eats seeds, fruits and insects. This species nests as close to Illinois as Missouri and Tennessee, and there have been sightings of painted buntings in the state, but they are few and believed to represent individuals that migrated further than their normal breeding range. Some of the individuals seen could represent escaped caged birds. The species winters in Florida and Central America.


Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Cardinalidae

Illinois Status: casual, native