Orange-breasted Bunting Passerina leclancherii

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Cardinalidae
  • Polytypic: 2 subspecies
  • Authors: Eric R. Gulson and Robert A. Behrstock


Conservation Status

Orange-breasted Bunting is classified by the IUCN as a bird of Least Concern because it has a large range, its population trend is apparently stable, and its population is above 10,000 individuals (BirdLife International 2012). Parker et al. (1996) gave the bunting a medium conservation priority due to its capture for the cage bird trade.

The modeled distribution of Orange-breasted Bunting includes nine Natural Protected Areas (ANP in Spanish) but the bird has only been found in five of these: Siarra de Manantlan, Chamela-Cuixmala, Sierra de Huatla, Huatulco, and La Sepultura. The area in these reserves considered to be "suitable habitat" is 1183.7 km2, or 0.9% of the birds "adequate" range (Vega Rivera et al. 2008). The bunting has been sighted in eight Important Bird Areas (AICAs in Spanish), increasing the protected/area of concern percentage of the bird’s range to 6.4%, but the AICAs are not likely receiving true protection (Vega Rivera et al. 2008). This shows that despite its occurrence in nature reserves, the Orange-breasted Bunting is dependent on suitable habitat found outside of these, particularly if it migrates to intact forest for the breeding season (Vega Rivera et al. 2008). Tropical deciduous forests are often considered endangered worldwide (Vega Rivera et al. 2004), with only 27% of their original coverage left in Mexico by 1990 (Trejo and Dirzo 2000).

Effects of human activity on populations

The habitat of Orange-breasted Bunting is directly affected by human activities, which are the main source of its disappearance. In Mexico, agriculture, cattle ranching, and timber extraction in particular are land uses that endanger the habitat (Trejo and Dirzo 2000).

One concern noted in Parker et al. (1996) was the cage bird trade, which is still very active in Mexico. Although there are no statistics on how this trade affects Orange-breasted Bunting, Howell and Webb (1995) warn that extralimital occurrences are likely due to this industry. Meanwhile the similar Painted Bunting (Passerina ciris) is greatly affected, where estimates of birds captured between 1984 and 2000 surpass 100,000. Between 2000 and 2001, when an export ban was lifted in Mexico, the country legally exported more than 6,000 birds to Europe and Japan (Iñigo-Elias et al. 2002). These figures are likely similar for Orange-breasted Bunting.

Recommended Citation

Gulson, E. R. and R. A. Behrstock (2012). Orange-breasted Bunting (Passerina leclancherii), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.