Birds Of Southern California

Lazuli Bunting (Passerina amoena)

The male Lazuli Bunting is a fairly easy bird to identify. It is about the size of a Goldfinch (small profile) and offers a buffy orange upper chest and an electric blue head and backside. It's bill is shiny metallic / silver in color on both the upper and lower mandible. April and May are perhaps the best months to locate the Lazuli Bunting here in Orange County though this species can be seen as late as October. I've found this species at Blue Jay Camground off Ortega Highway, Joplin Ranch Road ( just below the Joplin Youth Center) in Trabuco Canyon, Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary and also the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary in Irvine. A portion of Its call is rather similar to that of the Pine Siskin. My experiences have found this bird is a bit skittish when humans get to near though it does pause for short periods of time on open branches if you're at a moderate distance. It's a bit of a nemesis bird for me personally in obtaining high quality photographs. More from Wikipedia: The lazuli bunting (Passerina amoena) is a North American songbird named for the gemstone lapis lazuli. The male is easily recognized by its bright blue head and back (lighter than the closely related indigo bunting), its conspicuous white wingbars, and its light rusty breast and white belly. The color pattern may suggest the eastern and western bluebirds, but the smaller size (13–14 cm or 5–5.5 inches long), wingbars, and short and conical bunting bill quickly distinguish it. The female is brown, grayer above and warmer underneath, told from the female indigo bunting by two thin and pale wingbars and other plumage details. The song is a high, rapid, strident warble, similar to that of the indigo bunting but longer and with less repetition. Lazuli buntings breed mostly west of the 100th meridian from southern Canada to northern Texas, central New Mexico and Arizona, and southern California. On the Pacific coast their breeding range extends south to extreme northwestern Baja California. They migrate to southeastern Arizona and Mexico. Their habitat is brushy areas and sometimes weedy pastures, generally well-watered, and sometimes in towns. These birds eat mostly seeds and insects. They may feed conspicuously on the ground or in bushes, but singing males are often very elusive in treetops. This bird makes a loose cup nest of grasses and rootlets placed in a bush. It lays three or four pale blue eggs. In the eastern and southern part of its range, it often hybridizes with the indigo bunting.