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Varied Bunting Passerina versicolor


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Varied Bunting, male
credit: Dominic Sherony/CCSA

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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Family: Cardinalidae, Cardinals view all from this family

Description Song is a series of sweet, whistling phrases, similar to Painted Bunting; call is a sharp tchip.

Dimensions Length: 4 1/2-5 1/2" (11-14 cm)

Habitat Easiest to find when male is singing.

Range Southwest, Texas

Voice Locally common summer visitor (mainly Jun-Sep) to mesquite thickets and desert washes; winters in Mexico.

Discussion Southwestern, arid-country bunting, male of which is highly colorful (although it can look rather dark in poor light). Usually keeps to cover and can be tricky to see, except when male is singing. Close view reveals slightly downcurved culmen. Sexes are dissimilar. ADULT MALE Has a mostly blue tail, rump, and head, except for the red nape and black face. Plumage is otherwise purplish. ADULT FEMALE Extremely uniform, with unstreaked graybuff plumage, darker above than below; plumage hue is warmest buff in winter months. JUVENILE Similar to adult female; by first spring, male acquires variable amount of adult's blue and purple coloration.