The Indigo Bunting is one
of the most abundant songbirds in parts of the eastern United States. They
avoid unbroken forest, strongly preferring forest edges and brushy
thickets. They are thus likely much more numerous today than in historical
times due to man's disturbance of the landscape. The brilliantly colored
male (pictured to the right) is an unmistakable sight, while the female (last
photo below) is a much more subtly plumaged bird.
Habitat: Prefers brushy
areas for breeding, such as woodland edges, shelterbelts, brushy fields, and
Diet: Primarily feeds on insects and
spiders during summer breeding months. Will also feed on seeds and
berries, especially in the winter.
Behavior: Often forages by moving through the
foliage, gleaning insects from leaves and branches, and occasionally flying
out to capture an insect in mid-air. They will also forage along the
ground, especially in winter as the diet begins to include more seeds and
berries. They can be found foraging at all levels of vegetation, from
the ground to the tree tops.
Nesting: June and July
Migration: Summers through the
entire eastern United States and portions of the Southwest. Winters in
southern Florida, extreme southern Texas, Mexico, and southward.
Conservation Status: Has extended range into much of the
southwestern United States, but at the same time, has decreased in numbers
in areas of intense agriculture and urban development.
Bird Feeders: Will come to feeders for small seeds and
South Dakota "Hotspot": Although not
difficult to find in suitable habitat in South Dakota, I've found them
easiest to find and photograph at Newton Hills State Park, in Lincoln
Cornell University's "All About Birds - Indigo Bunting"
Photo Information: June 2007 - Newton Hills State
Park - Terry Sohl
Additional Photos: Click on the image chips or
text links below for additional, higher-resolution Indigo Bunting photos.