Varied Bunting

Passerina versicolor

Most Varied Bunting live in Mexico and never leave. Some live in the same territory all year. Quite a few migrate north to breed, and a handful of these will cross a few miles over the border and visit the USA. aside from a trip to Mexico, our best chance to meet these birds is to time a spring or early summer visit to Arizona, New Mexico, or Texas.

There are four subspecies recognised by science. P. v. versicolor crosses the border with Mexico and summers in south New Mexico, and in Texas near the Rio Grande River from Big Bend to the Gulf of Mexico. P. v. pulchra is resident in southern Baja California (Mexico), but some may migrate over the Gulf of California to Sonora and Sinaloa. P. v. dickeyae breed in Arizona, New Mexico, and northern Mexico. P. v. purpurascens lives in southern Mexico and Guatamala.

The birds I met on South Padre Island were presumably P. v. versicolor.

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