Blue Bunting Birds (Cyanocompsa parellina)

blue bunting bird

Unique among birds, the blue bunting bird (Cyanocompsa parellina) has a blue-colored body with black wings and tail feathers that are used to attract the female blue bunting bird.

The blue-colored plumage of the male blue bunting bird allows it to be better camouflaged from predators because it can blend in more with its surroundings such as trees and bushes than other types of birds such as the yellow-bellied warbler which uses mostly green colors to protect itself from predators in its natural environment.

Blue Buntings are small passerine birds native to North America and are part of the passerine family. There is a particularly high concentration of this species in Central America.

This species is closely related to Blue Grosbeaks, Lazuli Buntings, Indigo Buntings, and Varied Buntings. Observers may have difficulty distinguishing it from the Indigo Bunting due to its similar appearance. It is a sexually dimorphic bird, like most birds in its family.

Description

blue bunting bird

Blue Buntings are relatively small birds, measuring approximately 12 cm (4.7 inches) in length. Males exhibit vibrant blue coloring during the summer months and bright colors during the breeding season, in order to attract female partners.

In contrast, blue bunting female remains completely brown throughout the year. Generally speaking, they are small, stocky birds with short, wide bills.

An adult male’s body is a deep shade of blue with lighter shades on the shoulder, head, and sides surrounding his eyes. The wingtips and tails of these birds are grayish-black. In contrast, the female has an unstreaked warm brown coloration on her body. They have a pale brown underbelly.

Scientific name

The scientific name of the blue bunting bird is Cyanocompsa parellina.

Blue bunting habitat

As well as preferring brushy areas such as brushy pastures and bushy wood edges, there has been an increase in the number of blue bunting birds nesting in forest clearings. This indicates that it prefers open roadsides, old fields that have become bushes, woodland edges, farms, and other habitats along the edge of roadsides, such as along the edge of intersecting power lines.

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They are observed in deciduous woodlands and along swamp edges, small clearings in deciduous woods provide nesting sites for blue buntings. During the winter, they are most often observed in open farm fields.

Fields and shrubs near woodlands that are bushy or weedy are also preferred by these birds. Trees and utility poles are used by them to construct their nests along the sides of roads.

Size and weight

These birds are relatively small in comparison to other species of birds in the passerine family. Their body length measures approximately 14 cm (5.5 inches) and their wingspan measures approximately 22 cm (8.7 inches). In terms of body mass, they weigh approximately 15 grams (0.53 oz).

Blue bunting bird behavior

blue bunting bird

Blue buntings are crossbred birds that originate from the Indigo bunting and Grosbeak bunting. In spite of the fact that not much information is available about this bird, one can assume that it behaves similarly to either of its parents.

This species marks its territory by singing, especially during nesting. This is done to alert other birds and conspecific species of their territory.

Nesting behavior

The blue bunting builds its nests in fields, road edges, and right next to railroad tracks. They build their nests approximately one meter above ground level.

As the female bird prepares to lay her eggs, she selects a suitable location for the nest, usually a fork in the branch where the branches meet, and among a huge quantity of sticks and twigs that conceal the nest from view.

Sometimes, the bunting is known to build its nest among crops such as soybeans or corn.

A nest is built over a period of eight days. While the males may observe, they do not participate in the assistance process. Unlike most other nests, their nests are made of a mesh of twigs, leaves, sticks, grasses, barks, etc.

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In addition to thin grasses, roots and thin bark provide cushioning to the lining. It measures approximately three inches in width and 1.5 inches in depth.

Diet and foraging

Their diet consists of buds, berries, insects, and so on. Among the seeds they eat are goldenrods, dandelion, elderberries, thistles, and a few others.

They eat insects during summer such as spiders, caterpillars, cicadas, grasshoppers, worms, caterpillars, weevils, and click beetles.

These species also consume a wide variety of berries. They change their diet again according to the breeding season and the location, consuming the buds, twigs, and leaves of oak, hickory, elm, and maple trees.

They mainly eat insects and seeds. The type of food they consume depends on their location and the season. Blue buntings also eat insects such as beetles, caterpillars, and spiders.

Sounds and vocal behavior

“A sweet, rather sad warble” is the characteristic song of the blue bunting. A metallic note is heard in its call.

Breeding

blue bunting bird

There are three to four eggs laid by a female bunting, which are incubated for 12 to 14 days before hatching. When the young reach the age of approximately 12 days, they are nested until they take their first flight.

Lifespan

In captivity, the blue bunting can live for a longer period of time than its natural lifespan of approximately 2-3 years.

Movements and migration

This species of bird travels over long distances. In the eastern parts of North America, blue buntings breed and nest on dense nesting grounds, and in the winter, they migrate about 1,900 kilometers between their breeding and non-breeding grounds, primarily in southern Florida and northern South America.

As the winter season draws to a close, birds migrate southward; the eastern birds fly towards the eastern edge of South America, whereas the western birds migrate west while migrating south. In general, blue buntings migrate at night, as they are mainly nocturnal migrants.

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