The Lazuli Bunting
, Passerina amoena
, is a North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...
A songbird is a bird belonging to the suborder Passeri of the perching birds . Another name that is sometimes seen as scientific or vernacular name is Oscines, from Latin oscen, "a songbird"...
named for the gemstone lapis lazuli
Lapis lazuli is a relatively rare semi-precious stone that has been prized since antiquity for its intense blue color....
The male is easily recognized by its bright blue head and back (lighter than the closely related Indigo Bunting
The Indigo Bunting, Passerina cyanea, is a small seed-eating bird in the family Cardinalidae. It is migratory, ranging from southern Canada to northern Florida during the breeding season, and from southern Florida to northern South America during the winter. It often migrates by night, using the...
), its conspicuous white wingbars, and its light rusty breast and white belly. The color pattern may suggest the Eastern
The Eastern Bluebird, Sialia sialis, is a small thrush found in open woodlands, farmlands and orchards, and most recently can be spotted in suburban areas. It is the state bird of Missouri and New York....
and Western Bluebird
The Western Bluebird is a small thrush, approximately to in length.Adult males are bright blue on top and on the throat with an orange breast and sides, a brownish patch on back, and a gray belly and undertail coverts. Adult females have a duller blue body, wings, and tail than the male, a gray...
s, but the smaller size (13–14 cm or 5–5.5 inches long), wingbars, and short and conical bunting bill quickly distinguish it. The female is brown, grayer above and warmer underneath, told from the female Indigo Bunting by two thin and pale wingbars and other plumage
Plumage refers both to the layer of feathers that cover a bird and the pattern, colour, and arrangement of those feathers. The pattern and colours of plumage vary between species and subspecies and can also vary between different age classes, sexes, and season. Within species there can also be a...
The song is a high, rapid, strident warble, similar to that of the Indigo Bunting but longer and with less repetition.
Lazuli Buntings breed mostly west of the 100th meridian
Longitude is a geographic coordinate that specifies the east-west position of a point on the Earth's surface. It is an angular measurement, usually expressed in degrees, minutes and seconds, and denoted by the Greek letter lambda ....
from southern Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...
to northern Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...
, central New Mexico
New Mexico is a state located in the southwest and western regions of the United States. New Mexico is also usually considered one of the Mountain States. With a population density of 16 per square mile, New Mexico is the sixth-most sparsely inhabited U.S...
Arizona ; is a state located in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the western United States and the mountain west. The capital and largest city is Phoenix...
, and southern California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...
. On the Pacific coast their breeding range extends south to extreme northwestern Baja California
Baja California officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Baja California is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is both the northernmost and westernmost state of Mexico. Before becoming a state in 1953, the area was known as the North...
. They migrate
Bird migration is the regular seasonal journey undertaken by many species of birds. Bird movements include those made in response to changes in food availability, habitat or weather. Sometimes, journeys are not termed "true migration" because they are irregular or in only one direction...
to southeastern Arizona and Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...
. Their habitat
A habitat is an ecological or environmental area that is inhabited by a particular species of animal, plant or other type of organism...
is brushy areas and sometimes weedy pastures, generally well-watered, and sometimes in towns.
These birds eat mostly seed
A seed is a small embryonic plant enclosed in a covering called the seed coat, usually with some stored food. It is the product of the ripened ovule of gymnosperm and angiosperm plants which occurs after fertilization and some growth within the mother plant...
s and insect
Insects are a class of living creatures within the arthropods that have a chitinous exoskeleton, a three-part body , three pairs of jointed legs, compound eyes, and two antennae...
s. They may feed conspicuously on the ground or in bushes, but singing males are often very elusive in treetops.
This bird makes a loose cup nest of grasses and rootlets placed in a bush. It lays three or four pale blue egg
An egg is an organic vessel in which an embryo first begins to develop. In most birds, reptiles, insects, molluscs, fish, and monotremes, an egg is the zygote, resulting from fertilization of the ovum, which is expelled from the body and permitted to develop outside the body until the developing...
s. In the eastern and southern part of its range, it often hybridizes with the Indigo Bunting.
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