Birdhouses 101 - Indigo Bunting



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Indigo Bunting

About The Indigo Bunting

Indigo BuntingIts brilliant blue color accompanied by its unique song make the Indigo Bunting a highly prized wild bird. It is a small bird with short, conical beak and blue grey to black legs and feet. The adult male is brilliant dark blue all over with an almost purple crown. The female is dull brown with faint yellow to orange wing bars and some blue-tinged feathers on the wings, tail or rump.

The Indigo Bunting Nesting Preferences

Indigo Buntings usually begin to breed in early summer. The female selects the nest site preferably located close to the ground in open bushy areas or along edges of farmed lands. They also breed in clearings in open deciduous woodlands, in abandoned agricultural fields and in swamps. She builds the nest in about 8 days. The nest is an open cup of soft leaves, grasses, stems and strips of bark. The female lays 1 to 4 unmarked white eggs, one each day after sunrise. Incubation solely done by the female begins after the last egg is laid. This lasts for 11 to 14 days. The female feeds the chicks for the first few days after they hatch. The chicks then leave the nest 8 to 14 days after hatching and become independent about three weeks after they leave the nest.

Building a Birdhouse For The Indigo Bunting

Indigo BuntingAn appropriate birdhouse for Indigo Buntings has a 5 inches x 5 inches floor and 8 inches inside ceiling. It should have 1 -2 inches diameter entrance hole located 2 to 10 feet above the ground. Place the birdhouse in shrubs or herbaceous plants close to the ground.

The Indigo Bunting Mating Habits

Male Indigo Bunting sings. It sings a complex song during breeding season to attract females. A male may also court a female by strutting in circles, wings spread out and head crouched in front of a female. Indigo Buntings are generally monogamous but some switch mates within a single breeding season. They may raise more than one brood per season.

The Indigo Bunting Feeding preferences

Indigo BuntingDuring breeding, indigo Buntings eat small spiders and insects such as grasshoppers, bugs, beetles and caterpillars. They also eat seeds of grasses, herbs and berries. In winter, Indigo Buntings eat small seeds, buds and some insects. Their main sustenance is small seeds of grasses. They can also be found at feeders and in rice fields consuming rice seeds. They do not drink often but obtain adequate water from the food they eat. They feed alone during breeding season and with flocks during winter.

Interesting Indigo Bunting Facts

The Indigo Bunting is a popular cage bird in Europe and Mexico. They are migratory birds and may fly as far as 2000 miles between winter and breeding seasons. They migrate largely at night using the stars as travel guides. They are well-oriented about the night sky from observing the stars. Experienced adults can return to their previous breeding sites when released after being held captive during winter. Males generally hundreds of meters apart sing different songs but males on nearby territories have the same or nearly identical songs.

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Tena` Wallace  5/22/2008)
We have had one of these indigo buntings at our finch feeder for a week or so now here in the East Tennessee area. Ive never seen such a beautiful dark blue bird in our area; indeed a sight to behold.


Martha   5/25/2016)
We had this Indigo Bunting at our feeder in Middle Tennessee late each afternoon for a month last summer. Beautiful deep blue.


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