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Indigo Bunting

Indigo Bunting

The Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea) is a small seed-eating bird in the family Cardinalidae or Cardinal with a length of 11.5–13 cm (4.5–5.1 in). It displays sexual dimorphism in its coloration; the male is a vibrant blue in the summer and a brown color during the winter months, while the female is brown year-round. The male displays brightly colored plumage during the breeding season to attract a mate. Nest-building and incubation are done solely by the female. The diet of the Indigo Bunting consists primarily of insects during the summer months and seeds during the winter months.

During the breeding season, the adult male appears mostly a vibrant cerulean blue. Only the head is indigo. The wings and tail are black with cerulean blue edges. In fall and winter plumage, the male has brown edges to the blue body and head feathers, which overlap to make the bird appear mostly brown. The adult female is brown on the upperparts and lighter brown on the underparts. It has indistinct wing bars and is faintly streaked with darker markings underneath. [Wikipedia]

Indigo Bunting

Indigo Bunting

The all-blue male Indigo Bunting sings with cheerful gusto and looks like a scrap of the sky with wings. Sometimes nicknamed “blue canaries,” these brilliantly colored yet common and widespread birds whistle their bouncy songs through the late spring and summer all over eastern North America. Look for Indigo Buntings in weedy fields and shrubby areas near trees, singing from dawn to dusk atop the tallest perch in sight or foraging for seeds and insects in low vegetation. [All About Birds]

Indigo Bunting

Indigo Bunting

Indigo Bunting Facts [All About Birds]

  • Indigo Buntings migrate at night, using the stars for guidance. Researchers demonstrated this process in the late 1960s by studying captive Indigo Buntings in a planetarium and then under the natural night sky. The birds possess an internal clock that enables them to continually adjust their angle of orientation to a star—even as that star moves through the night sky.
  • Indigo Buntings learn their songs as youngsters, from nearby males but not from their fathers. Buntings a few hundred yards apart generally sing different songs, while those in the same “song neighborhood” share nearly identical songs. A local song may persist up to 20 years, gradually changing as new singers add novel variations.
  • Like all other blue birds, Indigo Buntings lack blue pigment. Their jewel-like color comes instead from microscopic structures in the feathers that refract and reflect blue light, much like the airborne particles that cause the sky to look blue.
  • The oldest recorded wild Indigo Bunting was a male, and at least 13 years, 3 months old when he was recaptured and rereleased during banding operations in Ohio.
Indigo Bunting

Indigo Bunting

 

7 comments on “Indigo Bunting

  1. ghostmmnc says:

    Wow, what an interesting and beautiful bird! I like that they navigate by the stars! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I thought the stars fact was pretty interesting too.☺

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Amy says:

    using the stars for guidance, clever!! Beautiful blu!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I still can’t believe it. ☺

      Like

  3. Arkenaten says:

    Wow … what a colour!
    And astral navigators. Amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. PAUL PICKERING says:

    Some of the Indigo Buntings spend their winters here in Costa Rica. We had large flocks on April 1 in the nearby coffee town of Aquiares (in the coffee fields, actually) before they headed back north to you. I enjoyed the detailed info you gave on this pretty little bird.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for that info. I am impressed by the fact that they migrate during the night and use the stars to guide them.

      Like

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