A Varied Bunting is a fun bird to see while bird watching. Below are some tips to help you identify Varied Buntings. We have also put together a list of fun Varied Bunting t-shirts, Varied Bunting bird patches, birdhouses, bird feeders, binoculars, stickers, and other fun bird-watching items.
About Varied Buntings
The Varied Bunting is a colorful bird that is found in the southern and central regions of America. This bird can also be found in Mexico. They live in dense shrubby thickets and are fond of human interaction. This bird species belongs to the cardinal family.
Description and Identification
These songbirds are small-bodied at a length of 4.3 – 5.5 inches with an approximate
wingspan of 8.3 inches. They are delicate with a shallowly forked tail and a short, conical bill.
Compared to other buntings, the upper of their bill is more curved. They are sexually
dimorphic in color. Breeding males are a vibrant mix of purples and blues, with crimson
upperparts and underparts, and a violet-blue face, rump, and shoulders. These colors are
further accentuated by a crimson ring around their eyes and lower crown, and a band of
black around the bill. Nonbreeding adults have dark brown plumes all over, while females
and immatures have soft brown upperparts with grayish-buff underparts.
Varied Bunting Size
Wingspan: this bird species has an average wingspan of 8 to 12 inches.
Weight: a fully matured bird weighs 10 to 15 grams
The adult of the species grows to a maximum length of averagely 6 inches.
Varied Bunting Appearance
The male Varied Bunting has a deep blue reddish head with bright red eye rings. The male plumage is generally blue and reddish-purple. The bird does appear darker when sighted from a distance. The female has a pale brown plumage with an unstreaked breast.
The Varied Bunting has a thick, cone-shaped bill that is dark brown in color. The juveniles resemble the adult female.
Varied Bunting Food
Varied Buntings feed on insects, seeds, seedpods, and cactus fruit. Common plants from
which they eat seeds are bristle grass, green sprangletop, fairy duster, organ pipe cactus,
saguaro, prickly pear, and Schott’s yellow hood. They forage in pairs and look for food while
being perched in vegetation or on the ground, moving through low vegetation and flushing
insects out with their wings and tail. They also glean insects from vegetation and bark
crevices in trees with their bills. Occasionally they capture insects in flight as well. Common
insect prey includes grasshoppers, ant lions, flying ants, termites, beetles, and the adults
and larvae of butterflies and moths.
The Varied Bunting mostly forages for insects, seeds, and berries. They are solitary birds but come together in small flocks during winter. The young are mostly feed on insects to nourish their high need for proteins.
Varied Bunting Nesting
These birds can be found nesting in arid thorn forests in canyons, arroyos, stream corridors,
desert washes, and in the hillsides above such areas. They inhabit lowlands like the Rio
Grande Valley at close to sea level, till elevations at 4,000 feet. They can occasionally be
seen foraging in open desert areas in response to food availability, but typically do not leave
dense covers of vegetation. A significant part of their range in the U.S. utilizes plants like
a gray thorn, hop bush, net leaf hackberry, desert hackberry, Texas persimmon, turpentine
bush, desert honeysuckle, and species of acacia, mesquite, willow, oak, juniper, seep willow,
cholla, and prickly pear. These birds tend to avoid human civilizations and stay away from
urban and suburban environments but may be found in overgrown and scrubby clearings.
Range and Migration
Varied Buntings are songbirds that are easily identifiable by their vivid plumages. Their
range stretches from the southern United States till south-eastern Guatemala, with the U.S.
populations residing in the southern parts of Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. These birds
are short-distance migrants in the northern parts of their range, with wintering migrations
taking them towards the Pacific and the Atlantic coasts of Mexico. Populations that reside in
central Mexico are permanent residents of their habitats and do not migrate.
Varied Bunting Life and Behavior
This bird species nests mostly in the summer in the southern region of America. The male protects the female and its territory by singing. It also puts on a fluttering flight display to ward off intruding males. They build their nests in dense shrubs and low trees 2 meters above the ground. Both sexes of the bird build the nest with dry grass and weeds.
The female lays an average of 4 to 5 eggs each season. The eggs are white in color and incubation is done by the female only. The incubation period lasts for a maximum of 12 days. Once they hatch, the young ones are looked after by both parents. The young ones leave the nest after two weeks.
Varied Bunting Nesting
Both males and females investigate good locations to nest in, but females make the final
selection. They nest around 3 feet above the ground on an outer branch of a thorny shrub or
small tree. The construction of the nests is undertaken by the females as they build a bowl of
grasses and wildflowers before lining the interiors with grasses and hair. The resulting nest
is typically 3 inches across and 2.5 inches tall, with the interior cup being 2 inches across
and 1.6 inches deep.
Bird Watching Academy & Camp Subscription Boxes
At Bird Watching Academy & Camp we help kids, youth, and adults get excited and involved in bird watching. We have several monthly subscription boxes that you can subscribe to. Our monthly subscription boxes help kids, youth, and adults learn about birds, bird watching, and bird conservation.
Bird Watching Binoculars for Identifying Varied Buntings
The most common types of bird-watching binoculars for viewing Varied Buntings are 8×21 binoculars and 10×42 binoculars. Bird Watching Academy & Camp sells really nice 8×21 binoculars and 10×42 binoculars. You can view and purchase them here.
Varied Bunting T-shirts
If you love the Varied Bunting you should purchase a Bird Watching Academy & Camp T-shirt. To help support bird conservation we donate 10 percent to bird conservation activities.
Varied Bunting Iron On Patches
Kids, Youth, and Adults love to collect our Bird Watching Academy & Camp iron-on patches. Our bird-watching patches help you keep track of the birds you have seen and identified. You can also display the patches on our Bird Watching Academy & Camp banners.
The Varied Bunting is a great iron-on patch to start your collection with. The patches are durable and can be sewn on or ironed on to just about anything.
Varied Bunting Stickers
Stickers are a great way for you to display your love for bird watching and the Varied Bunting. We sell a monthly subscription sticker pack. The sticker packs have 12 bird stickers. These sticker packs will help your kids learn new birds every month.
Bird Feeders for Varied Buntings
There are many types of bird feeders. Here are our favorite bird feeders for your backyard. We use all of these bird feeders currently. Kids will have a great time watching birds eat at these bird feeders. Using this collection of bird feeders will provide a wide variety and many types of birds.
Best Bird Houses for Varied Buntings
There are many types of birdhouses. Building a birdhouse is always fun but can be frustrating. These 4 birdhouses have become our favorites. Getting a birdhouse for kids to watch birds grow is always fun. We spent a little extra money on these birdhouses but they have been worth the higher price and look great.