Family: (Cardinalidae) Cardinals, Grosbeaks, and Buntings
Preferred Habitat: Thickets, woodland edges, gardens.
Seasonal Occurrence: Uncommon March through November. Lesser numbers in the summer with a few breeding in our area.
Notes: Wearing almost every color of the rainbow, the Painted Bunting is a vibrant bird. The male has a cobalt head with a red eye ring. Its underparts and rump are also red, the back is green and the tail and wings are dark brown or gray. Females and immatures are a distinctive bright green with a pale eyering.
Despite their bright colors, Painted Buntings are not always easy to spot. They are sparrow sized finches that spend a lot of time in thickets concealed by vegetation. One of the features of the Painted Bunting that does aid in its detection is its distinct song. During breeding season, to announce his territory, a male bird will perch atop a bush or small tree and sing a series of sweet, clear warbling notes.
Look for this bird along the coast at spring migrant hot spots. One has been hanging out behind the field station across from Houston Audubon's Boy Scout Woods Sanctuary.