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Lazuli  Bunting Lazuli Bunting

Lazuli  Buntings can be attracted to your yard with seed feeders, water, and a little shrubbery.

Identification and Pictures

 (Passerina amoena)

Lazuli BuntingLazuli buntings were named for the gemstone lapis lazuli.

They are a small bright blue finch about 5 to 5 1/2 inches. Like other finches their conical bill is useful for both insects, and seeds.  The head and upper parts of males in breeding plumage are turquoise blue with black in front of the eyes.  The breast, and sides have a cinnamon band, and the belly is white. They have black tails, and wings, with white wing bars.  Lazuli buntings look somewhat like Western  Bluebirds, but are smaller.

Young males look like the adults but are paler, and have buff feather tips.

Females are brownish with white on the throat, and belly and white wing bars.

Photos by Keith Lee.  The camera I use is the Canon EOS 40D and a 70 to 300 zoom lens.

Lazuli Bunting

Songs and Calls

The Lazuli's song is a rapid, high warble, similar to that of the Indigo Bunting but longer, and with less repetition.

High phrases at different pitches like see-see, sweet-sweet, cheew cheew, that are usually paired .  By the first or second year males will develop their own song, and will sing only that song for the rest of their life.  Often they will develop their song by listing to nearby males, so males in a certain area may sound alike.  In poor light you may only have its song, and its silhouette for identification.

Bunting Song

Range, Habitat and Migration

Lazuli buntings range from British Columbia across Saskatchewan, then south through the western United States.

After breeding season they begin to molt. They will stop molting while they fly in flocks to areas such as southern Arizona and New Mexico for a stopover before continuing on with their migration south to Mexico for the winter.

The preferred habit for Lazuli buntings is shrubby areas, brushy slopes, dry hillsides, briars, and streamside.  They may also reside in residential gardens.

Breeding and Nesting

After the female chooses a nesting site in low trees or bushes she will build a cup size nest of grass, leaves, and bark.  The nest is lined with fine grass, and hair, and may be wrapped in caterpillar silk.  She will lay 3 to 4 pale blue eggs, and incubate them for around 12 days.  The young birds will leave the nest in about 10 days, and the parents will feed them two or more weeks after they leave.  The female may start another brood in which case the male will do most of the feeding.  Lazuli buntings will sometimes cross breed with Indigo buntings.

Food, Water and Feeding

Natural foods for Buntings are seeds, grain, berries, and insects.  They can be seen foraging on the ground or in bushes, but will also visit feeders, and bird baths in your back yard or garden area.

For more on food and feeding go here.
For more on feeders go here.

Check out our Bunting posters

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