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Forest and Rangeland Birds of the United States

Natural History and Habitat Use

Varied Bunting -- Passerina versicolor


RANGE: Breeds in south-central and southeastern Arizona, southwestern and southeastern New Mexico and southern Texas south to Mexico and Guatemala. Winters from southern Texas south throughout the breeding range.

STATUS: Local and uncommon.

HABITAT: Inhabits mesquite or thorny shrubs, brushy pastures, dense vegetation with few cottonwoods, foothill canyons, and generally hilly and rocky terrain; tends to avoid heavily wooded areas.

SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Thorny shrubs.

NEST: Builds a compact cup nest 2 to 10 feet above the ground in the crotch of a shrub, low tree, or vine tangle.

FOOD: Presumably eats insects and seeds similar to the diet of the indigo and lazuli buntings. (No definitive studies have been made.)

REFERENCES: Bent 1968a, Harrison 1979, Oberholser 1974b, Terres 1980.


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