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Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

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Forest and Rangeland Birds of the United States

Natural History and Habitat Use

Lazuli Bunting -- Passerina amoena


RANGE: Breeds from southern British Columbia to central North Dakota and northeastern South Dakota south to northwestern Baja California, southern Nevada, central Arizona, central New Mexico, and central Texas. Winters from southern Baja California and southern Arizona south to Guerrero and central Veracruz.

STATUS: Common to uncommon.

HABITAT: Inhabits a variety of habitats from near sea level to 10,000 feet in the Sierras and 8,000 feet in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Generally found in diverse habitats with an abundance of shrubs, low trees, and herbaceous vegetation such as thicketed swales and draws of prairies and dry bushy hillsides, wooded valleys, aspen groves, and shrubby banks of mountain streams. In much of the arid West, found in riparian vegetation.

SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Shrubby vegetation.

NEST: Builds a coarsely woven cup nest attached to supporting stalks or a fork of a low shrub or vine tangle, usually 2 to 4 feet above the ground.

FOOD: Forages on or near the ground in shrubs and occasionally hawks for insects. Consumes animal material (primarily insects which account for over half of the spring and summer diet) and grass and weed seeds.

REFERENCES: Bent 1968a, Grinnell and Miller 1944, Harrison 1979, Johnsgard 1979, Terres 1980.


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