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Lazuli Bunting

Passerina amoena ORDER: PASSERIFORMES FAMILY: CARDINALIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

The male Lazuli Bunting lights up dry brushy hillsides, thickets, and gardens throughout the West, flashing the blue of a lapis gemstone mixed with splashes of orange. He belts out his squeaky and jumbling song from atop shrubs to defend his territory. The softly colored female is often nearby teetering on tiny stems in a balancing act to reach seeds and other fare. This stocky finchlike bird is related to cardinals and grosbeaks and often visits bird feeders, especially those filled with white proso millet.

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Backyard Tips

Lazuli Buntings frequent bird feeders, especially ones that offer white proso millet, sunflower seeds, or nyjer thistle seeds. Visit Project FeederWatch to learn more about what type of feeder and seed to use.

Create bird friendly habitat in your yard by planting native shrubs to provide foraging and even nesting opportunities for the Lazuli Bunting. Learn more about birdscaping at Habitat Network.

Find This Bird

During the breeding season, a walk along a trail or road through brushy hillsides and chaparral might lead you to a Lazuli Bunting. Once you are in the right habitat, listen for their fast jumbling song and look high in tall shrubs for a singing male. Males tend to be quite vocal and defensive of their territories especially early in the breeding season. So to catch a singing male, be sure to go looking in April in the southern part of their range or in May in the northern part of their range. They'll be easier to hear in April through June, but these common birds are still fairly visible for the rest of the summer months. During the nonbreeding season scan weedy fields and look for small finchlike birds weighing down grass and weed stems while they eat seeds.

Get Involved

Join the Great Backyard Bird Count and tell us how many species you see in your yard. Find out more at Great Backyard Bird Count.

Count the number of birds you see at your feeders and provide scientists with valuable data by joining Project FeederWatch.

You Might Also Like

Watch how Lazuli Bunting distribution changes throughout the year with this eBird Animated Occurrence Map.

Learn more about how and why birds molt their feathers in The Basics: Feather Molt, All About Birds, April 20, 2008.

Flyways for Flyweights: Small Birds Capitalize on Weather Patterns During Epic Migrations, All About Birds, May 15, 2014.

Read more about the Lazuli Bunting’s unusual postbreeding movements: These 8 Unexpected Migration Routes Give You Reason to Go Birding in Summer, All About Birds, July 16, 2014.

Read more about how Lazuli Buntings and other species migrate along a "Green wave" of resources in Migrants Ride A Green Wave North, Living Bird, Spring 2015.

Look out! The Backyard Bird Alarm Call Network, Living Bird, Winter 2016.

In Colombia, Shade-Grown Coffee Sustains Songbirds And People Alike, Living Bird, Autumn 2016.

People Power And Sustainable Forestry Keep Deforestation At Bay In Guatemala, Living Bird, Autumn 2016.

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bird image Blue-winged Warbler by Brian Sullivan

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