Family: Cardinalidae, Cardinals
Description: 5 1/2" (14 cm). Sparrow-sized. In bright sunlight male brilliant turquoise blue, otherwise looks black; wings and tail darker. Female drab brown, paler beneath.
Habitat: Brushy slopes, abandoned farmland, old pastures and fields grown to scrub, woodland clearings, and forest edges adjacent to fields.
Nesting: 3 or 4 pale blue eggs in a compact woven cup of leaves and grass placed in a sapling or bush in relatively thick vegetation and within a few feet of the ground.
Range: Breeds from southeastern Saskatchewan east to New Brunswick, and south to central Arizona, central Texas, Gulf Coast, and northern Florida. Winters in southern Florida and in tropics.
Voice: Rapid, excited warble, each note or phrase given twice.
Discussion: Indigo Buntings have no blue pigment; they are actually black, but the diffraction of light through the structure of the feathers makes them appear blue. These attractive birds are also found in rural roadside thickets and along the right-of-way of railroads, where woodlands meet open areas. They are beneficial to farmers and fruit growers, consuming many insect pests and weed seeds.