A male indigo bunting singing for all to enjoy in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Location: TN, USA
The all-blue male Indigo Bunting sings with cheerful gusto. Sometimes nicknamed “blue canaries,” these brilliantly colored yet common and widespread birds whistle their bouncy songs through the late spring and summer all over eastern North America. Look for Indigo Buntings in weedy fields and shrubby areas near trees, singing from dawn to dusk atop the tallest perch in sight or foraging for seeds and insects in low vegetation.
Size & Shape
Indigo Buntings are small (roughly sparrow-sized), stocky birds with short tails and short, thick, conical bills. In flight, the birds appear plump with short, rounded tails.
A breeding male Indigo Bunting is blue all over, with slightly richer blue on his head and a shiny, silver-gray bill. Females are basically brown, with faint streaking on the breast, a whitish throat, and sometimes a touch of blue on the wings, tail, or rump. Immature males are patchy blue and brown.
Male Indigo Buntings sing from treetops, shrubs, and telephone lines all summer. This species eats insects, seeds, and berries. While perching, they often swish their tails from side to side. Fairly solitary during breeding season, Indigo Buntings form large flocks during migration and on their wintering grounds.
Look for Indigo Buntings in weedy and brushy areas, especially where fields meet forests. They love edges, hedgerows, overgrown patches, and brushy roadsides. When not singing from the tallest perches in the area, they can often be seen foraging among seed-laden shrubs and grasses.
Source: Cornell Lab of Ornithology