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Lazuli Bunting

Passerina amoena ORDER: PASSERIFORMES FAMILY: CARDINALIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

A beautifully colored bird, the Lazuli Bunting is common in shrubby areas throughout the American West.

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Appearance

Finchlike
Finchlike
Typical Voice

Adult Description

  • Small songbird.
  • Short, thick bill.
  • Two wingbars.
  • Breeding male with blue head and back, red chest, and white belly.
  • Female and nonbreeding male dull brown.

Male Description

Breeding (Alternate) Plumage: Head deep blue. Upper chest reddish. Lower chest, belly, and under tail white. One large and one narrow white wingbar. Black in front of eyes. Wing feathers dark, edged in blue.
Nonbreeding (Basic) Plumage: Buffy overall. Blue feathers tipped with buff on back and face. Blue, reddish, and white feathers tipped with buff on front.

Female Description

Grayish brown head, nape, and back. Rump brown tinged with light blue. Bluish tint on shoulders. Two pale tan or whitish wingbars. Faint rust band across breast, blending to lighter brown lower on belly. Wing and tail feathers brown with slightly blue-tinged edges.

Immature Description

Similar to adult, but first-year male tends to have paler and duller blue feathers with brown or buff tips, especially on head, nape, and back, resulting in variable dull blue-brown, blotchy appearance.

Range Map Help

Lazuli Bunting Range Map
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Field MarksHelp

  • Breeding male

    Lazuli Bunting

    Breeding male
    • Small and brightly colored
    • Distinctive sky-blue head and rich buffy-orange breast
    • Bold white wing-bars
    • Stout, silver-gray bill
    • © Susan, San Ramon, California, May 2011
  • Female

    Lazuli Bunting

    Female
    • Small and short-tailed
    • Pale buffy wing-bars
    • Bright buff/orange on breast, paler below
    • © Cameron Rognan, Truckee, California, July 2009
  • Breeding male

    Lazuli Bunting

    Breeding male
    • Small and stocky with short tail
    • Striking sky-blue head
    • Pale, buffy-orange breast
    • White wing-bars
    • © Ganesh Jayaraman, Rancho San Antonio, Los Altos, California, April 2010
  • Breeding male

    Lazuli Bunting

    Breeding male
    • Small and compact with short tail and rounded head
    • Intense sky-blue, with bright white on wing-bars and belly
    • Stubby, silver-gray bill
    • © Ganesh Jayaraman, Los Altos, California, April 2010

Similar Species

  • Male

    Blue Grosbeak

    Male
    • Larger and heavier-bodied than Lazuli Bunting
    • Very large bill
    • Deep, dark blue overall
    • Rusty wing-bars
    • © Carlos Escamilla, Del Mar Road, Laredo, Texas, April 2011
  • Female

    Indigo Bunting

    Female
    • Very similar to female Lazuli Bunting
    • No obvious wing-bars
    • Pale throat contrasts with brown face
    • Faint streaking on flanks
    • © Joey Herron, Montana Mines Road, Fairmont, West Virginia, May 2011
  • Adult male

    Western Bluebird

    Adult male
    • Plumper and larger-headed than Lazuli Bunting
    • No wing-bars
    • Thin bill
    • © Jamie Chavez, Preisker Park, Santa Maria, California, February 2009

Similar Species

  • Female Indigo Bunting very similar, but has whiter throat contrasting with dull brown, slightly streaked breast, and less conspicuous wingbars.
  • Blue Grosbeak is entirely dark blue, with two brownish wingbars, a larger body, and a heavier bill.
  • Western Bluebird similarly colored, but is plumper and larger-headed, and lacks wingbars.

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