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Painted Bunting

Passerina ciris

Painted Bunting

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Cardinalidae
  • Polytypic 2 Subspecies

Authors: Schulenberg, Thomas S.

Passerina ciris

George Town, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands; 18 May 2008 © Ray Robles

 The Painted Bunting breeds in the southeastern United States and in northeastern Mexico, and winters in Florida, the Bahamas, Cuba and Mexico south to Costa Rica and western Panama. The distribution of Painted Bunting is notable for the total, or nearly total, geographical separation of the distribution between an eastern population with only a very narrow distribution, and a more widespread western population, with no documented geographich overlap between these two populations.

Like other buntings of the genus Passerina, Painted Bunting is found in shrubby habitats and at forest edge. They primarily forage on the ground, although sometimes (at least when breeding) may forage as high as 10 m (33') above the ground.

Although the Painted Bunting is well-known compared to many species that breed entirely within the Neotropics, many aspects of its biology remain poorly known. A comprehensive summary of its biology (especially in the United States)  can be found in the Painted Bunting account in the Birds of North America series.

thumbnail image: Port Aransas, Texas; April 2009 © Linda Alley

Recommended Citation

Schulenberg, Thomas S.. 2009. Painted Bunting (Passerina ciris), Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online:

This map is based on the maps available from the NatureServe InfoNatura website, but has been revised by Neotropical Birds Online.

The data for the Infonatura maps are provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Robert Ridgely, James Zook, The Nature Conservancy - Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International - CABS, World Wildlife Fund - US, and Environment Canada - WILDSPACE.

  • Migration/Movement:Boreal Migrant
  • Primary Habitat:Riparian thickets
  • Foraging Strata:Understory
  • Foraging Behavior:Glean
  • Diet:Seeds
  • Sociality:---
  • Mating System:Monogamy
  • Nest Form:Cup
  • Clutch: 3 - 4
  • IUCN Status:Near Threatened