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With their vivid fusion of blue, green, yellow, and red, male Painted Buntings seem to have flown straight out of a child’s coloring book. Females and immatures are a distinctive bright green with a pale eyering. These fairly common finches breed in the coastal Southeast and in the south-central U.S., where they often come to feeders. They are often caught and sold illegally as cage birds, particularly in Mexico and the Caribbean, a practice that puts pressure on their breeding populations.
Painted Buntings breed in dense brush, often adjacent to thick, grassy areas or woodland edges. During migration and winter they favor dense, weedy habitats as well as the understory of semi-open forest.
Size & Shape Painted Buntings are medium-sized finches with stubby, thick, seed-eating bills. Color Pattern Males are stunningly colored with blue heads, red underparts, and green backs. Females and immatures are a uniform, bright yellow-green overall, with a pale eyering. Though they are basically unpatterned, their overall color is greener and brighter than similar songbirds. Behavior Painted Buntings forage on the ground in dense cover, among grasses, or at seed feeders. Sometimes they venture out into grass to forage on seeds. On migration they form loose flocks with other seed-eating birds. Breeding males often perch out in the open to sing their jumbled, sweet songs.