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  • 1. Size: 12-13 cm (5-5 in)
  • 2. Weight: 13-19 g (0.46-0.67 ounces)
  • 3. Small, bright finch.
  • 4. Male unmistakable with red chest, blue head, and green back.
  • 5. Female bright greenish yellow.
  • 6.Bill short and thick.
  • 7. Tail of medium length.
  • 8. Bill and feet blackish.
  • 9. Eyes dark brown.

The Painted Bunting (Passerina ciris) belongs to the Passerina genus of birds in the Cardinal family Cardinalidae. Nicknames: nonpareil (Fr., having no equal), Mariposa Pintada (Sp., Painted Butterfly).

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. Their striking colors and warbled song have made them a popular cage bird in Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. The plumage of female and juvenile Painted Buntings is green and yellow-green, serving as camouflage in thickets, woodland edges and brushy areas.

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. They eat seeds, insects and caterpillars. 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.

Sex Differences

Male brightly colored, female drabber and entirely green.


Song is high-pitched, thin, and sweet, consisting of short phrases of variable pitch. Call is a soft rising chip.

Other Names

Passerin nonpareil, Bruant nonpareil (French)
Colorsietecolores, Gorri󮠣abeziazul (Spanish)

Cool Facts

  • --The western population of Painted Buntings begins its fall migration before molting, molts in staging areas in southern Arizona and northern Mexico, then continues to migrate further south. This migration-molt pattern is common among waterfowl but very rare among songbirds. In contrast to the western population, the eastern population of Painted Buntings molts on its breeding grounds before migration.


  • --Male Painted Buntings are highly territorial and aggressive toward each other. Fights between males, which include pecking, beating with wings, and grappling, sometimes result in death.


Head and nape blue. Back shiny green. Rump, throat, chest, flanks, belly, and undertail coverts red. Eyering red. Wings and tail dark gray.


Crown, nape, and back rather bright olive-green. Throat, chest, and belly yellow-green. Head may show some blue feathers.


Open brushlands, thickets, and scattered woodlands. Along Atlantic coast, also in hedges and yards.


Insects, insect larvae, and spiders in breeding season. Seeds in fall and winter.