Wild Bird Feature: All About the Painted Bunting

Wild Bird Feature: All About the Painted Bunting

Elinor CohenJuly 23, 2022

Do yourself a favor this summer and become familiar with a living work of art: the Painted Bunting. With its vibrant colors and propensity for frequenting backyard bird feeders that cater to their love of white millet seeds (particularly in the summer months) the Painted Bunting may just indulge you in a sighting.

The Vivid Visuals of the Painted Bunting

One look at a male Painted Bunting and you may be inspired to break out your palette and easel. As is common with songbirds, the male wins all the awards in the looks department. Vivid blue, green, yellow, and red hues decorate the bird’s head, back, bottom, and belly respectively. That’s not to say female Painted Buntings aren’t beautiful in their own right. Both females and immatures are bright yellow-green overall with a pale eyering. The Painted Bunting has a stocky, finch-like body with a stubby, thick bill for eating seeds.

Where to Find Them

These birds are relatively common in the coastal southeast and south central part of the United States. Florida, Virginia, and Texas are hot spots for the Painted Bunting, especially in areas of dense brush and thick grass. 

As a backyard birder, if you’re looking to lure them near, your best bet is to provide a water source for the birds and keep your yard grassy and full of shrubbery. Manicured lawns may look nice to your neighbors, but they Painted Buntings prefer a more natural aesthetic. You also need to be sure to keep your bird feeders full of the right bird seed for Painted Buntings.

Painted Bunting Eating Habits

Speaking of feeding the Passerina Ciris, Painted Buntings are particularly fond of seeds, specifically white millet seeds. Fill your bird feeders with white millet bird seed or a wild bird food seed mix that contains white proso millet seeds, nyjer thistle seeds, and even black oil sunflower seeds and you’ll have a better chance of seeing one of these beauties. Bear in mind that during breeding season, which begins in late April and lasts until early August, Painted Buntings will typically add insects to their diet to ramp up their protein intake. 

Why Painted Buntings Are So Rare?

These birds are known for their great beauty, unique molt-migration patterns, and distinct high-pitched call. Check out the Painted Bunting's call in this YouTube audio clip below.

Unfortunately, they are also known for being a rare breed whose presence is in decline. This is due to habitat loss and the fact that Painted Buntings are often caught and sold illegally as cage birds in Mexico and the Caribbean. Additionally, the species is sadly prone to window collisions and cowbird parasitism, both of which contribute to the 33% decline that has been documented between 1966 and 2019.

Valley Farms White Millet Wild Bird Food

Valley Farms White Millet Wild Bird Food


Did you know that White Proso Millet is a great source of B vitamins and calcium? This under-appreciated grain is a fantastic nutritional value for wild birds. Containing 12 percent protein, 8 percent fiber, and magnesium, wild birds will readily consume it. Many wild bird enthusiasts will purchase straight millet as an effective, viable, and economical way to attract tonnes of backyard activity to feeders. 

Valley Farms Hi-Flite Wild Bird Food


Attract a broad range of wild bird species with Valley Farms Hi-Flite Blend. For a robust economy blend, you'll see a variety of birds such as Cardinals, Juncos, Finches, Titmice. Show your backyard songbirds love with this value packed wild bird food blend!
White Millet, Cracked Corn, Milo, Black Oil Sunflower Seed

As bird lovers, it’s up to us to provide Painted Buntings with as much access to clean wild bird feed seed and safe habitats as possible. Find all the wild bird food you need to help keep these birds thriving here at Valley Farms®.

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