The "Painted Bunting" is of the finch genus. A gaudily beautiful bird, it is known throughout the southern states by its French name, "Nonpareil" (without equal). Unlike other finches, he keeps his handsome plumage in all seasons. In spite of his brilliant coloration, however, this bird is hard to discover as he skulks along the ground among dense thickets of brush.
The female "Painted Bunting" is her own distinctive self, being one of the very few bright green birds in North America.
The young "Painted Bunting" is grayish-brown.
This bird breeds in two parts separated by hundreds of miles. It breeds over a large part of the south-central United States, but also along the southern Atlantic coast. The male stakes out his territory in brushy areas near streams or swamps, at woodland edges and in towns. When the female arrives, he competes fiercely for her 'troth'.
Calls or song.
The "Painted Bunting" songs, considered sweet and musical, consist of a series of separate notes that alternate between a high and low pitch, "tida day-da tida day teetayta tita, witee wi witee wi witato". Also, "wee sittee, wippity, pickity, snickity".
Population and distribution.
The "Painted Bunting's" brilliant plumage made it a popular cage bird until it came under federal protection. It is still sold in markets in Mexico and the West Indies. In cotton country, this bird serves farmers by eating boll weevils and cotton worms.
The female builds a compact nest of grass, leaves and weed stalks in a bush or sapling about three feet from the ground. In southern coastal areas, she will hide it in a clump of Spanish Moss. Here she lays three or four white eggs marked with reddish-brown dots.