Varied Bunting

Varied Bunting
Credit: Dominic Sherony

Varied Buntings are small songbirds. The male Varied Bunting is stunningly colorful.  It has a purple head, semi-red-lined outer eyes, crimson nape and throat, purple and bluish body, wings, and tail.

The female is rather dull in contrast, mostly brown in color and with hardly any identifiable marks. 

  • Passerina versicolor
  • Length: 4.3-5.5 in (11-14 cm)
  • Weight: 0.4-0.5 oz (11-13 g)
  • Wingspan: 8.3 in (21 cm)


Varied Buntings breed in northern Mexico and into southern US states before migrating to southern Mexico to join birds that remain there all year.

Habitat And Diet

You can find Varied Buntings in thorny bushes, deserts and canyons, and streamside thickets, sometimes within scattered trees. They are known to avoid overly-populated areas. 

The Varied Bunting’s feeding patterns are rarely observed, but it may forage on the ground for insects, fruits, and seeds. 

These shy birds do not usually visit backyard feeders.

Varied Bunting Song:


Nests of Varied Bunting are usually built in a dense shrub or low tree, around four feet above the ground. It is an open-cup nest made from dry grass and weeds lined with softer materials. They lay around four eggs, which hatch in about two weeks. The young may leave the nest within two weeks.

Fun Fact:

Varied buntings eggs can be either blue or green. Usually, birds only lay one egg color.