Indigo Bunting

Passerina cyanea
Image of: Passerina cyanea (indigo bunting)
Image of: Passerina cyanea (indigo bunting)

Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: cardinalidae
Genus: Passerina
Species: P. cyanea

Indigo Buntings are found throughout Eastern North America. They prefer a brushy or weedy habitat along the edges of farmed land, in abandoned fields or in clearings in open deciduous forests. They can also be found in swamps. They make nests of leaves, grasses, stems and strips of bark and eat spiders, insects, seeds of grass, herbs and berries. They will also eat caterpillars, grasshoppers, bugs and beetles.

Identifying Features:
  • Male is a brilliant blue during breeding season with a darker, almost purple crown.
  • Females and young are brown with buff wing bars and tint of blue on shoulders and tail.
  • They are small (11.5cm-13cm long).
  • They have short conical beaks and black or gray legs and feet.
Special Adaptations:
  • They migrate south to Mexico, Central America, northern South America and the Caribbean in the winter, sometimes traveling up to 2000 miles.
  • They can have several broods in one season, thus bettering their odds of survival.
  • They have a special adapted behavior of feigning an injury to lure predators away from their nest and eggs or young.

Source: Zumberg, R. 1999. "Passerina cyanea" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed July 18, 2011