Indigo Bunting

(Passerina cyanea)

Conservation Status
Indigo Bunting
Photo by James Gordon
  IUCN Red List

LC - Least Concern

 
  NatureServe

N5B - Secure Breeding

SNRB - Unranked Breeding

 
  Minnesota

not listed

 
           
           
           
           
           
           
 
Description
 
 

 

 
     
 

Size

 
 

5½ in length

8 wingspan

 
     
 

Voice

 
   
     
 

Similar Species

 
     
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Deciduous forests, woodland edges, shrubby fields, orchards.

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Migration

 
 

May to early June and late July to mid-October

 
     
 

Nesting

 
 

 

 
     
 

Food

 
 

 

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Occurrence

 
 

Uncommon to common migrant, uncommon to locally common breeder

 
         
 

Maps

 
 

The Minnesota Ornithologists’ Union All Seasons Species Occurrence Map

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
  Class Aves (birds)  
 

Order

Passeriformes (perching birds)  
 

Family

Cardinalidae (cardinals and allies)  
 

Genus

Passerina (Varied Buntings)  
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
Visitor Photos
 
           
 

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Kim Firkus

 
 

Just saw my first indigo bunting May 14 2002 in Pequot Lakes Minnesota so exciting

 
    Indigo Bunting   Indigo Bunting  
           
    Indigo Bunting      
 

Lynn M

 
 

County Rd 111

 
    Indigo Bunting   Indigo Bunting  
 

Norm & Peg Dibble

 
  … I had finally captured an Indigo Bunting on our cement patio in May of 2013.   Indigo Bunting  
         
      Indigo Bunting  
 

James Gordon

 
  Lately we have had several indigo bunting at our feeders, I have counted 7 at one time. Very attractive bird.   Indigo Bunting  
 

Zim

 
    Indigo Bunting      
 

Melody Lackner

 
    Indigo Bunting      
 

Bill Reynolds

 
    Indigo Bunting      
           
 
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos
 
    Indigo Bunting   Indigo Bunting  

 

Camera

 

     
 
Slideshows
 

Indigo Bunting
Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren

  Indigo Bunting  

Indigo Bunting
JMC Nature Photos

  Indigo Bunting  

Indigo Bunting
Craig A. Mullenbach

  Indigo Bunting  

 

slideshow

       
 
Visitor Videos
 
       
 

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Other Videos
 
  Indigo Bunting
The Music of Nature
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Apr 29, 2010

This sweet little video celebrates the Indigo Bunting and its song. It features footage I obtained from Land Between the Lakes, Kentucky. Look carefully at the second clip in the sequence—you can see the bird's breath condensing when he sings!

The strident, high-pitched, lively song of the male is usually made up of a series of doubled phrases: "sweet, sweet, chew, chew, see-it, see-it".

The Indigo Bunting gets its name from it's beautiful indigo blue color. Although quite common in shrubby clearings over much of the East, this species is not well known to the general public and is often confused with the Eastern Bluebird (there are only a handful of North American birds that are primarily blue in coloration).

© 2010 Lang Elliott
musicofnature.org

 
  Indigo Bunting Singing.MOV
mj197012
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Jun 2, 2010

Indigo Bunting singing on June 2, 2010 in West Salem Wisconsin. Video captured with a Canon 7D camera.

 
  Indigo Bunting
Birdzilla.com
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Mar 21, 2011

Meet the Indigo Bunting through images and video

 
  Indigo Bunting
thepacerspecial
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Mar 15, 2008

070307

 
  Indigo Bunting - Full Year Animation
eBird
 
   
 
About

Published on Sep 10, 2013

Brilliant azure male Indigo Buntings sing conspicuously from high perches, telephone lines, and wood edges. Females are drab and unobstrusive, as are winter-plumaged birds and immatures, which can form sizeable flocks in the fall in areas with abundant grain.

This habitat shift--from scrublands, wood edges, and forest clearings to grasslands, agricultural areas, and weedy patches--is something that is understood by the STEM models. Please keep in mind that the data that underlie the pretty animated maps are in fact much richer and reveal many additional bits of information about seasonal habitat preferences. When we plot the monthly relative importance of deciduous forest to the predictions in these models, we find that it becomes much less important from August to October, which is a time that Indigos are leaving their Breeding areas and foraging in fields. In the future, we hope to be able to provide more of this data as well.

Some of the fall habitat shift can be seen in the animation. The lower Mississippi River valley is a broad swath of agriculture, especially in northeastern Louisiana. A common pattern on these maps is to see that area show up as bright (e.g., Horned Lark) or dark (e.g., Brown-headed Nuthatch, Wood Thrush). The reason for this is the broad, landscape scale habitat that dominates here (agriculture) and the comparatively tiny amount of forest in tis area, as compared to all the areas around it. Of course, the lack of forest here is quite a sad thing, since the woodlands of this area used to be some of the most majestic prior to being entirely converted to agriculture.

The migration of Indigo Bunting is one of our favorite examples and the STEM models really show it quite well. In late March and April the species arrives on the Gulf Coast, after crossing directly from the Yucatan. A wedge of arriving buntings surges north through the Mississippi River Valley and spreads out from there over the course of almost 1.5 months, a rather protracted arrival when compared to other landbirds. Birds at the northern edge of their range in New England do not fill in their territories until late May. The fall movement heads south back across and around the Gulf of Mexico primarily during October.

 

 

Camcorder

 
 
Visitor Sightings
 
           
 

Report a sighting of this bird.

 
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  Heidi
7/14/2022

Location: Montgomery, MN

Prairie, Woodland edge

 
  Kaye
5/23/2022

Location: Golden Valley, MN

watched a pair feed at our bird feeder around 7PM.

 
  Sue
5/15/2022

Location: Shelving, MN

have seen just one, but several times at feeders.  First time seen one, beautiful!

 
  Gail
5/17/2022

Location: New Brighton, MN

First time I’ve ever seen one!  Seen foraging in the grass in both the morning and afternoon. 

 
  Stephanie
5/15/2022

Location: Brainerd, MN

This is the first time I have ever seen one - I looked out my window and saw it in my hanging bird feeder:

 
  Kim Firkus
5/14/2020

Location: Pequot Lakes, Minnesota

Just saw my first indigo bunting May 14 2002 in Pequot Lakes Minnesota so exciting

Indigo Bunting

 
  Ruth Weibel
5/13/2022

Location: Minnetonka, MN

Sighted a male outside my office window which backs up to a wooded area. I have feeders out one with a songbird mix of black oil sunflower seeds, safflower, peanuts, raisins & cherries. Another with mealworms & lastly a suet cake with corn, white millet, oats and blueberries.

I have never seen this type of bird before!

 
  Sharon Aiken Peterson
5/12/2022

Location: Wyoming MN

First time I've ever seen one. We have lots of Baltimore Orioles, yellow finches, wood peckers(all) and cardinals.  Even saw a Barn Owl in the tree!

 
  Bonnie West
5/12/2022

Location: Desnoyer Park, St. Paul, Mn

a lone bird in the bushes. I was lucky to see and snap a photo!

 
  Cindy Kressin
5/11/2022

Location: Breckenridge, MN, Wilkin County

Comments: We live in the country with fields around our house. I have feeders out with black oil sunflowers, berries and meal worms.

 
  Lonnie Weaver
5/10/2022

Location: Newburg Township, MN

Sighted just outside Mabel MN in Newburg Township, Fillmore County in Southeastern MN.

 
  CamilleK
5/9/2022

Location: Excelsior MN

 
  Ian Collins
8/29/2021

Location: Hibbing Minnesota

First one in my lifetime.

 
  Lynn M
7/7/2021

Location: Aitkin/Crow Wing County line

County Rd 111

Indigo Bunting

 
  Deanna
5/25/2021

Location: Pine City, MN

First time I have seen an Indigo Bunting in natural setting!

 
  Ashley L
5/18/2021

Location: Rock Creek, MN

It is the first sighting we have seen here in 3 years. It was eating off the ground next to the bird feeder.

 
  Paulette G
6/21/2020

Location: Ramsey/Nowthen area

Saw an Indigo Bunting (male) at my backyard feeder in the Ramsey/Nowthen area. I've lived here 15 years and this is my first sighting.  Have a mixture of hulled variety of seeds, dried fruit and dried mealworms. Was competing with 3 goldfinches for a spot at the feeder.

 
  Amy
5/30/2020

Location: Empire, MN

Saw it while leaving The Mulch Store outside Rosemount, MN.

  Debra Arneson
5/29/2020 8:30pm...dusk

Location: Columbia Heights/New Brighton city line

Male Indigo Bunting at my backyard feeder ( variety of seed & nuts..some sunflower in shell ).

First time sighted .. lived here 6 years with backyard feeders every year.

Stayed at feeder more than 5 minutes than flew to wooded area close by.

 
  JP
5/22/2020

Location: Wyoming, MN

Sighted at front yard feeder.

Cedar, Oak & Arborvitae’s nearby. So excited since they are very seldom sighted. 

 
  Diane McCabe
5/19/2020

Location: Suet feeder in front of our house north of Bemidji, MN.

We live on a lake and with forest all around our home.

 
  Gretchen
5/17/2020

Location: Big Lake

We saw an. Indigo bunting at our feeder and birch tree in Big Lake

 
  Pam Reierson
5/16/2020

Location: St.Louis Park, MN

About  2:45 pm, I saw a single indigo bunting around my multiple feeders in my backyard/garden. It checked out the feeders but did not find anything it wanted among the following offerings: (nectar, grape jelly, oranges, golden safflower, peanuts or suet). No other birds were around the feeders that might have scared it away.  It flew away before I could check the ground below the feeders.

 
  Stephanie G.
5/16/2020

Location: Owatonna

One Indigo Bunting this morning eating at my finch feeder.

  Dave G.
5/4/2020

Location: Apple Valley, MN

We have had what I believe to be the same indigo bunting visit our feeders twice today.

  Alice Vesel
6/1/2019

Location: Hibbing, Mn

  Dan Rossiter
5/27/2019

Location: Cotton, Minnesota (LONG Lake)

  Renee Parduhn
5/22/2019

Location: Alexandria, Minnesota

I live in rural Alexandria and have approximately 30 orioles around my feeders.  Just now I also have indigo buntings!  I've never seen one here before!!!!

 
  Mike and Kate
5/21/2019

Location: Inver Grove Heights, MN

  Kathy
5/19/2019

Location: Barrett, Minnesota

in my yard today by the lake - gorgeous bird!

  Jim Gordon
5/11/2019

Location: Dassel, Minnesota 55325

Lately we have had several indigo bunting at our feeders, I have counted 7 at one time. Very attractive bird.

Indigo Bunting

 
  Naomi
5/12/2019

Location: Granite Falls, MN

  Alissa
5/9/2019

Location: Chatfield, MN

  Amanda H.
5/23/2018

Location: rural Winsted

feeding on the ground under a bird feeder

  DL Garland
5/21/2018

Location: Watertown Mn

I seen an Indigo Bunting our My kitchen window in the neighbors tree above his bird feeder.

 
  Wayne S.
5/21/2018

Location: St. Cloud, MN

At feeder this morning

  Michelle M.
5/17/2018

Location: Randall, Minnesota

  Zim
5/14/2018

Location: Mendota Heights, MN

Indigo Bunting

 
  Ashley
5/12/2018

Location: On fence post along pasture, Rural area of New Ulm, Mn

wooded area near by

 
  Kim
5/12/2018

Location: Bird feeder in Vermillion MN

  Barb and Brian
7/2/2017

Location: Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden

Caught a picture of him in a pine tree. Quite a treat!

 
  Melody Lackner
6/6/2017

Location: Aitkin, MN

Indigo Bunting

 
  Bernie Dischinger
4/2/2017

Location: Plymouth Minnesota

Just happened to see him this afternoon thought it was way early.

 
  AftonAnn
8/19/2016

Location: Prairie/Forest Edge and feeder Afton, MN

 
  Bill and Lisa Wiseman
7/10/2016

Location: Lakeville, MN

on feeder, mixed seed

  Darwin and Karen
6/2/2016

Location: Prinsburg, MN

first time seeing one. Was on the thistle feeder

  Steve S
5/10/2016

Location: Chanhassen, MN

I have not observed an Indigo Bunting at our feeder before. These are supposedly common in eastern US but I did not notice them in our yard before today.

 
  Rana
4/27/2016

Location: South Minneapolis backyard feeder

  Jackie
4/24/2016

Location: Vicksburg, MS

I have seen four on my back patio.

  Greg & Deb Swenson
7/6/2015

Location: Gaylord MN

Spotted on our yard north or town

  Andrew
5/24/2015

Location: Little Falls, MN

Hi, today my father spotted an indigo bunting in Little Falls, MN

  Pond watchers
5/18/2015

Location: Plymouth, MN

  Nanette Hartman
5/11/2015

Location: my bird feeder Green Isle, MN

never seen them at my feeder before.

  Patty & Don Wajda
7/15/2014

Location: Backyard NE Minneapolis around 8 pm

wow

  Boyd Herdendorf
5/12/2014

Location: Fridley, Mn.

Spotted at the bird feeder on the back deck.

  16512466812
5/8/2014

Location: Osceola, Wisconsin

  Norm & Peg Dibble
May 2013

Location: Maple Grove, MN

I forgot that I had finally captured an Indigo Bunting on our cement patio in May of 2013.

Indigo Bunting

 
           
 
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