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Painted Bunting Passerina ciris
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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This species has declined over the long term and apparently continues to do so at a moderately rapid rate. It is therefore considered to be Near Threatened.

Taxonomic source(s)
Cramp, S.; Perrins, C. M. 1977-1994. Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The birds of the western Palearctic. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Distribution and population
Passerina ciris occurs in two geographically disjunct populations: a western population breeding from northern Mexico to northern Texas, USA, and wintering in south-west Mexico; and an eastern population breeding along the Atlantic coast from North Carolina to Florida (USA) and wintering in southern Florida and the Caribbean (Lowther et al. 1999). The global population is estimated to be 3.6 million birds (Rich et al. 2003). Populations have declined since the mid-1960s and the species has been extirpated from parts of its range in south-west and east USA and north-east Mexico (Lowther et al. 1999, Sauer et al. 2003, NAS 2004, USFWS 2004). Breeding Bird Survey data from the continental USA (and for five years from north-east Mexico) indicates that the population has declined by 55% over the last 30 years (Iñigo-Elias et al. 2002, Rich et al. 2003), with the steepest declines in the eastern population.

Population justification
Rich et al. (2004).

Trend justification
This species has undergone a small or statistically insignificant decrease over the last 40 years in North America (data from Breeding Bird Survey and/or Christmas Bird Count: Butcher and Niven 2007).

The western population breeds in scrub-brush habitat that remains largely intact, and the eastern population inhabits coastal plain agricultural land (Lowther et al. 1999).

Loss and intensification of habitat through urban development, road building and agricultural intensification, and capture for the cagebird trade are the primary threats (Lowther et al. 1999, Iñigo-Elias et al. 2002, Phillips Lynch 2004), with part of the declines also being attributed to brood-parasitism by Brown-headed Cowbird. Trapping and sale in local markets occurs in Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, and overseas to international markets in Europe, South America and Asia (Ramos 1982, Iñigo-Elias 1986, Iñigo-Elias et al. 2002).

Conservation Actions Underway
The species is monitored, but no other specific actions are known.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Tightly control any ongoing trade in the species. Develop an appropriate management strategy to reverse population declines. Develop a comprehensive conservation strategy including adaptive harvesting for populations in the Caribbean and Latin America (Iñigo-Elias 2006).

Iñigo-Elias, E. E. 1986. Active trade threatens Mexican avifauna. TRAFFIC Bulletin 6(4): 6-7.

Iñigo-Elias, E. E. 2006. Live bird trade with neartic-neotropical migratory passerines in Latin America and the Caribbean. Wings without borders: IV North American Ornithological Conference, October 3-7, 2006, Veracruz, Mexico, pp. 156. American Ornithologists' Union, Waco, TX, USA.

Iñigo-Elias, E. E.; Rosenberg, K. V.; Wells, J. V. 2002. The danger of beauty. Birdscope 16(3): 1,14-15.

Lowther, P. E.; Lanyon, S. M.; Thompson, C. W. 1999. Painted Bunting Passerina ciris. In: Poole, A.; Gill, F. (ed.), The birds of North America, No. 398, pp. 1-24. The Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia and the American Ornithologists' Union, Philadelphia and Washington, DC.

NAS. 2004. Audobon WatchList species, painted bunting Passerina ciris. Audobon WatchList:

Phyllips Lynch, I. 2004. Bird without equal. Wildlife in Carolina 68: 24-29.

Ramos, M. 1982. El comercio y la explotación de las aves vivas en México. Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico.

Rich, T. D.; Beardmore, C. J.; Berlanga, H.; Blancher, P. J.; Bradstreet, M. S. W.; Butcher, G. S.; Demarest, D.; Dunn, E. H., et al. 2003. Partners in flight north American Landbird conservation plan.

Rich, T.D.; Beardmore, C.J.; Berlanga, H.; Blancher, P.J.; Bradstreet, M.S.W.; Butcher, G.S.; Demarest, D.W.; Dunn, E.H.; Hunter, W.C.; Inigo-Elias, E.E.; Martell, A.M.; Panjabi, A.O.; Pashley, D.N.; Rosenberg, K.V.; Rustay, C.M.; Wendt, J.S.; Will, T.C. 2004. Partners in flight: North American landbird conservation plan. Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY.

Sauer, J. R.; Hines, J. E.; Fallon, J. 2003. The north American breeding bird survey, results and analysis 1966-2002. version 2003.1.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 2004. North Carolina endangered species home page.

Further web sources of information
Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Bird, J., Harding, M., Sharpe, C J, Stattersfield, A.

Butcher, G., Pashley, D., Rosenberg, K., Wells, J.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Passerina ciris. Downloaded from on 28/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 28/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - Painted bunting (Passerina ciris) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Near Threatened
Family Emberizidae (Buntings, American sparrows and allies)
Species name author (Linnaeus, 1758)
Population size mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 1,210,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species