Adult male Indigo Bunting:
- for more detailed view and EXIF data, please click on the image -
"Male Indigo Buntings sing from treetops, shrubs, and telephone lines all summer. This species eats insects, seeds, and berries, and can be attracted to backyards with thistle or nyjer seed. While perching, they often swish their tails from side to side. Fairly solitary during breeding season, Indigo Buntings form large flocks during migration and on their wintering grounds.
- Indigo Buntings migrate at night, using the stars for guidance. Researchers demonstrated this process in the late 1960s by studying captive Indigo Buntings in a planetarium and then under the natural night sky. The birds possess an internal clock that enables them to continually adjust their angle of orientation to a star—even as that star moves through the night sky.
- Indigo Buntings learn their songs as youngsters, from nearby males but not from their fathers. Buntings a few hundred yards apart generally sing different songs, while those in the same "song neighborhood" share nearly identical songs. A local song may persist up to 20 years, gradually changing as new singers add novel variations.
- Like all other blue birds, Indigo Buntings lack blue pigment. Their jewel-like color comes instead from microscopic structures in the feathers that refract and reflect blue light, much like the airborne particles that cause the sky to look blue.
- Bunting plumage does contain the pigment melanin, whose dull brown-black hue you can see if you hold a blue feather up so the light comes from behind it, instead of toward it.
- The oldest known wild Indigo Bunting was 8 years, 3 months old. " (source: CornellLab)