Passerina Ciris – Painted Bunting

The Passerina ciris or commonly known as painted bunting is a species of bird that belongs to the Cardinalidae family, which includes the cardinals. When it comes to males, the bright plumage only appears in their second year of life; in their first year, they can only be distinguished from the female through careful examination.

Quick Overview: Passerina Ciris – Painted Bunting
Body size: Around 5.25-5.75 in (13-15 cm) in length and weighed 23 g (0.8 oz)
Main colors: Blue, Bronze-Green, Red, Green, Yellow-Green, Brown, Black
Range: North America
Migratory Bird: Yes
Best time of the year to see in the U.S.: January, February, June, July, August, September, December
Conservation Status: Near Threatened

Painted bunting Description

Painted buntings are colorful little birds.  Male adult birds are brightly colored. Males have blue heads and napes, bronze-green backs, and red rump and underparts. Females have dark green upper parts and yellow-green underparts. Male and female wings and tails are dark brown or black, contrasting with the rest of the body. Both sexes have dark feet, legs, eyes, and bills. The bill is dark brown to blackish in color, and the feet and legs are dull to dusky brown.

Passerina ciris - Painted bunting  in the United States
Colorful Male Passerina ciris – Painted bunting. Source: Wikipedia


This medium-sized bird is 5.25-5.75 in (13-15 cm) in length and weighed 23 g (0.8 oz). Its wingspan could range around 8-8.5 in (20-22 cm).


During the winter, it primarily consumes seeds, while during the summer, it primarily consumes insects, spiders, and snails.


The breeding habitat of these species consists of partially open areas with brush, riparian thickets, and shrubbery interspersed throughout. Spanning scrub communities and the edges of maritime hammocks, the breeding habitat of the eastern population is comprised of scrub communities

Female Passerina ciris - Painted bunting in the United States
female Passerina ciris – Painted bunting. Source: Wikipedia


Painted buntings are a social species in which males engage in long-lasting vocal exchanges that can last for more than 30 seconds. While the mating season is in full swing, the song serves as a means of self-advertisement and/or territorial defense for the males, who have become extremely territorial. Young male buntings have a tendency to wander until they can establish their own breeding territory for themselves.

Passerina Ciris Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Subphylum: Chelicerata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Cardinalidae
  • Genus: Passerina
  • Species: Passerina ciris


 There are two subspecies in the painted bunting species. The P. c. ciris in the southeastern United States and P. c. pallidior in the south-central United States and northern Mexico.

Best time of the year to see

The best time to see these birds in the United States are during summer (June to September) and winter (December to February).

Distribution of the Painted Bunting in the USA

The breeding range is divided into two parts. The Santee River in South Carolina is one example of an inland waterway. They winter in South Florida, Cuba, the Bahamas, Mexico, and Central America. They may also be vagrants to New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.  It is found occasionally in New Brunswick, Canada.

The Painted Bunting can be found in the following states in the United States – Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington

Passerina Ciris – Painted Bunting

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