Varied Bunting

Passerina versicolor




Cardinals & Piranga Tanagers (Cardinalidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

White to light blue

Number of Eggs:

3 - 4

Incubation Days:

12 - 14

Egg Incubator:


Nest Location:

In fork of low tree or bush.

Nest Material:

Stalks, grass, cotton, snakeskin, and paper, with lining of rootlets, grass, and hair.





Varied Bunting: Medium-sized bunting, mostly purple-blue with red wash on throat, breast, and back. Nape and eye-rings are red. Bill is gray and slightly curved down. Wings and tail are purple-blue. Female has brown upperparts with buff underparts.

Range and Habitat

Varied Bunting: Occurs across Mexico south to Guatemala. Breeding range extends north into extreme southern Texas, southeast and southwest New Mexico, and southern Arizona. In New Mexico they occur at Guadalupe Canyon in Hidalgo County, and also less regularly in Dona Ana County and in canyons of Carlsbad Caverns National Park. Winters in Mexico. Prefers thickets in canyons and washes.

Breeding and Nesting

Varied Bunting: Three to four white to pale blue eggs are laid in a nest made of stalks, grass, cotton, snakeskin, and paper, lined with rootlets, grass, and hair, and built in a low tree or bush, usually 2 to 10 feet above the ground. Incubation ranges from 12 to 14 days and is carried out by the female.

Foraging and Feeding

Varied Bunting: Eats seeds and insects; forages in low, dense vegetation and on the ground.

Readily Eats

Safflower, Apple Slices, Suet, Millet, Peanut Kernels, Fruit


Varied Bunting: Song consists of a series of high-pitched musical notes. Call is a wet "spik."

Similar Species

Varied Bunting: Male Painted Bunting has bright red breast and green back; female Indigo and Lazuli Buntings have blue shoulder patches.


Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
The upper front part of a bird.
Also called the hindneck or collar, it is the back of the neck where the head joins the body.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X