South Dakota
Birds and Birding
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Lazuli Bunting

Passerina amoena

Length: 5.5 inches Wingspan: 8.5 inches Seasonality: Summer/Migrant
ID Keys (Male): Sky-blue upperparts, rusty chest, white belly, white wing-bars.

Lazuli Bunting - Passerina amoenaLazuli Buntings are birds of brushy areas, and have actually benefited from the brushy habitats which often are the result of forest cutting activities.  They are the western counterpart to the East's Indigo Bunting.  Their ranges overlap in South Dakota, and the two species often interbreed.  The brilliantly colored male is shown to the right, while a photo of the drabber female can be seen on the bottom of the page.

Habitat: Prefers brushy areas, including streamside thickets, brushy fields, brushy undergrowth along woodland edges, and sometimes in sagebrush habitats.  

Diet: Eats both seeds and insects.  The summer diet includes a great many insects, and spiders, as well as the seeds of grasses and weeds, and waste grain.  The winter diet is primarily seeds and grains.

Behavior: Usually forages on the ground or by moving through low vegetation.  Males are often seen singing in the open, while females tend to stay hidden in cover.

Nesting: May and June

Breeding Map: Breeding Bird Survey map

Song: High crisp warbling.

Migration: Summers throughout much of the western United States.  Primarily winters in western Mexico. 

Similar Species: Indigo Bunting, Blue Grosbeak.  See the Identification Tips page for differentiating between these species.

Conservation Status: Stable in most areas.  Numbers are locally much higher than historical levels, due to the brushy second-growth habitat that often results from forest cutting activities.

Bird Feeders: Will attend feeders for small grains and seeds.

Further Information: 1) USGS Patuxent Bird Identification InfoCenter, Lazuli Bunting

2) Cornell University's "All About Birds - Lazuli Bunting"

3) eNature.com: Lazuli Bunting

Photo Information: May 6th, 2008 - Near Tucson, Arizona - Terry Sohl

Additional Photos: Click on the image chips or text links below for additional, higher-resolution Lazuli Bunting photos.

 

Click on the map below for a higher-resolution view
Lazuli Bunting - Range map
South Dakota Status: Uncommon migrant and summer resident in the western half of the state.  Accidental in the eastern half.