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Indigo buntings

indigo-bunting.jpg
Gareth Rasberry
/
Wikimedia Commons
A male indigo bunting

The indigo bunting (Passerina cyanea) is a small seed-eating bird in the cardinal family, Cardinalidae. It is migratory, ranging from southern Canada to northern Florida during the breeding season, and from southern Florida to northern South America during the winter. It often migrates by night, using the stars to navigate. Its habitat is farmland, brush areas, and open woodland. The indigo bunting is closely related to the lazuli bunting and interbreeds with the species where their ranges overlap.

The indigo bunting is a small bird, with a length of 11.5–13 cm (4.5–5.1 in). It displays sexual dimorphism in its coloration; the male is vibrant blue in the summer, with brightly colored plumage during the breeding season to attract a mate. It is brown during the winter months, while the female is brown year-round. Nest-building and incubation are done solely by the female. The diet of the indigo bunting consists primarily of insects during the summer months and seeds during the winter months.

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Rudy Mancke served as naturalist and co-host of South Carolina ETV's NatureScene, which began its long run in 1978. His field trips, broadcast nationwide, have earned him a legion of dedicated viewers. Rudy's knowledge of the complex inner-workings of different ecosystems and his great admiration for the natural world make him the perfect guide. In fact, the National Wildlife Federation and the Garden Club of America honored his commitment to resource conservation with special awards. Since retiring from SCETV, Rudy has gone on to teach at the University of South Carolina, Columbia.