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Merlin Bird ID

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    Indigo Bunting

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    Indigo Bunting

    Passerina cyanea
    • ORDER: Passeriformes
    • FAMILY: Cardinalidae
    Basic Description

    The all-blue male Indigo Bunting sings with cheerful gusto and looks like a scrap of 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.

    More ID Info
    image of range map for Indigo BuntingRange map provided by Birds of North AmericaExplore Maps

    Find This Bird

    Look for Indigo Buntings in midsummer along rural roads, where they often sing from telephone lines or wooded edges for hours on end. One of the best ways to find them is to learn to recognize the bouncy quality of the paired notes in their song. During migration you may see large flocks of Indigo Buntings feeding in agricultural fields or on lawns. In fall their mostly brown plumage can make them tricky to identify, but look for tinges of blue in the wings or tail as a giveaway.

    Other Names
    • Colorín Azul (Spanish)
    • Passerin indigo (French)

    Backyard Tips

    You can attract Indigo Buntings to your yard with feeders, particularly with small seeds such as thistle or nyjer. Indigo Buntings also eat many insects, so live mealworms may attract them as well. There’s more about feeding birds at our Attract Birds pages.

    • Cool Facts