Varied Bunting

Passerina versicolor
Range Map

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 southeastern Arizona, southern New Mexico, or southwestern 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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