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Birds of Illinois


Indigo bunting

Scientific Name: Passerina cyanea
Present in Illinois: late April to mid-October
Illinois Status: Abundant migrant and summer resident; very rare winter resident in south and central parts of state.
Illinois Range: statewide
Illinois Habitat: roadsides and forest edges
Winter Range: south Florida and central Mexico, south to Panama, Greater Antilles and Bahamas
Length: 5 1/4 to 5 3/4 inches
Weight: 11.2-21.4 g
Description: Males bright blackish blue; females brown with paler belly
Song: Notes usually in twos: “sweet-sweet”, “chew-chew”
Nest: From 8 inches to 7 feet high in berry, rose and greenbrier bushes or tall weeds and tangles of vines; well woven dry grass, dead leaves, bark strips and snakeskin with lining of rootlets, fine grass, feathers, hair
Eggs: 3-4; pale bluish-white
Broods per year: two
Food: grains and berries
Habits: Frequent cowbird host; the bunting will occasionally bury cowbird eggs by building a new floor in the nest
Notable: Populations have increased since 1900 with the abandonment of pastures and increased timber loss.
SOURCE—The Birds of Illinois by H. David Bohlen


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