A Major Influx of Lazuli Buntings

by Larry Jordan on June 13, 2011

Lazuli Bunting Male (Passerina amoena) photos by Larry Jordan

The weather has been strange this year to say the least.  Here in northern California we are just now getting temperatures in the eighties and the rain is subsiding.  I don’t even know if the weather has anything to do with it but we have seen a major influx of Lazuli Buntings (Passerina amoena) recently.

The female is not as flashy as the male but is beautiful in her own right.

A friend and fellow Audubon board member lives about twenty miles from me, at a slightly higher elevation, and told me she had a flock of Lazuli Buntings visiting her yard. She invited me over to photograph these beautiful birds and this is the result.

The male has the intense turquoise blue plumage, aptly named after the semi-precious gemstone Lapis Lazuli.  Note the black upper mandible in contrast to the pale blue lower mandible.

This is most likely a yearling male. The male Lazuli Bunting doesn’t reach his full brightness of plumage until he’s at least two years old. Note the brown feathers on his nape and back and the buff tips on his greater coverts.

Here you can see an even younger male behind him.

And a mature female in the background of this photo.

If you love wild birds and you want to see some great bird photos from around the world, you have to check out World Bird Wednesday and join in the fun!

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

TexWisGirl June 14, 2011 at 4:21 am

my lord these are stunning birds!!!! gems, for sure!

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Boom & Gary June 14, 2011 at 6:31 am

That blue is incredible!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

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holdingmoments June 14, 2011 at 9:45 am

Such beauties.
I’m always amazed at the beautiful birds from around the world.

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MaineBirder June 14, 2011 at 9:55 am

Such a beautiful bird and your captures are awesome Larry! Your spring sounds very much like ours here on the mid coast of Maine, cool and very wet.

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jo June 14, 2011 at 10:29 am

That is some blue! Almost artificial. Our kingfishers have a touch of that which they flash when flying. Fancy having so many of them around to enjoy.

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joo June 14, 2011 at 12:32 pm

They are stunning! Never seen them before!

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Mick June 14, 2011 at 1:01 pm

Beautiful birds and how wonderful to see a whole flock of them. Great photos.

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Martha Z June 14, 2011 at 2:11 pm

These are beautiful birds, Larry. There were lots of birds at Eagle Lake over the weekend but I didn’t see any of these.

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Eileen June 14, 2011 at 2:13 pm

Wow, lucky you! They are gorgeous birds. Great photos.

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Sondra June 14, 2011 at 2:18 pm

THESE are stunning!!!

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springman June 14, 2011 at 6:42 pm

What a spectacular bird. How many would you see in a normal year? Love the two toned beak!

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Larry June 14, 2011 at 9:56 pm

@All thank you for your kind comments!

@Dave I haven’t seen any at my house for many years. That’s why I was excited to find out that my friend had this flock at her house. After photographing these at my friend’s house, I did see a flock briefly on the road to my place.

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Bill S. June 15, 2011 at 9:19 am

I love those buntings. They are so colorful and their song is amazing. Great pictures and send a few more my way. I have only had a few this year.

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Pat June 15, 2011 at 3:16 pm

Incredibly beautiful bird! Your photos are excellent!

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Pat Ulrich June 15, 2011 at 5:47 pm

What a gorgeous species! It’s fun to see so many together too!

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Kelly June 15, 2011 at 7:07 pm

Larry, these fellows are gorgeous and your photos really bring out that incredible blue. I’ve never seen a Lazuli Bunting, but I did get to see Painted Buntings in SC recently!

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Hilke Breder June 16, 2011 at 2:13 am

What a stunning blue color- almost looks unreal! Thanks for sharing!

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NatureFootstep June 18, 2011 at 1:49 pm

nice bird and very informative shots. 🙂

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