Varied Bunting

ID Info
Silhouette BuntingsBuntings
Varied BuntingPasserina versicolor
  • ORDER: Passeriformes
  • FAMILY: Cardinalidae

Basic Description

Adult male Varied Buntings are a stunning mosaic of rich plum, crimson, cherry red, and lavender-violet. In the shadows of their favored habitats—desert thorn forest, stream thickets, scrubby woodlands, and overgrown clearings—the colors of the plumage vanish, and the birds look blackish. Females and immatures are brownish. This gorgeous songbird avoids populated areas and doesn’t tend to visit feeders, instead foraging low in dense vegetation, twitching its tail and wings to flush insects. Varied Buntings are on the Yellow Watch List because of their restricted range.

More ID Info
image of range map for Varied BuntingRange map provided by Birds of the WorldExplore Maps

Find This Bird

Varied Buntings are a mostly Mexican species whose breeding range barely reaches across the border into Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. Listen for singing males beginning in about May. They are quite localized, so check with local birders or eBird to find places to search for them. Walk through scrubby stream corridors, listening for singing males and watching for movement low in the brush. As with many desert species, early morning and late afternoon are the best times to look.

Other Names

  • Azulillo Morado (Spanish)
  • Passerin varié (French)
  • Cool Facts