The male is easily recognized by its bright blue head and back (lighter than the closely related Indigo Bunting), its conspicuous white wingbars, and its light rusty breast and white belly. The color pattern may suggest the Eastern and Western Bluebirds, but the smaller size (13–14 cm or 5–5.5 inches long), wingbars, and short and conical bunting bill quickly distinguish it. The female is brown, grayer above and warmer underneath, told from the female Indigo Bunting by two thin and pale wingbars and other plumage details.
The song is a high, rapid, strident warble, similar to that of the Indigo Bunting but longer and with less repetition.
Lazuli Buntings breed mostly west of the 100th meridian from southern Canada to northern Texas, central New Mexico and Arizona, and southern California. On the Pacific coast their breeding range extends south to extreme northwestern Baja California. They migrate to southeastern Arizona and Mexico. Their habitat is brushy areas and sometimes weedy pastures, generally well-watered, and sometimes in towns.
This bird makes a loose cup nest of grasses and rootlets placed in a bush. It lays three or four pale blue eggs. In the eastern and southern part of its range, it often hybridizes with the Indigo Bunting.
- Peterson, Roger Tory (1990). Western Birds. Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 0-395-51424-X.
- Sibley, David (2000). The Sibley Guide to Birds. Knopf. ISBN 0-679-45122-6.
- Lazuli Bunting Species Account - Cornell Lab of Ornithology
- Lazuli Bunting - Passerina amoena - USGS Patuxent Bird Identification InfoCenter
- Article & RangeMaps InfoNatura, NatureServe
- Lazuli Bunting videos on the Internet Bird Collection
- Lazuli Bunting photo gallery VIREO (with photo of egg clutch)
Further reading 
- Greene, E., V. R. Muehter, and W. Davison. 1996. Lazuli Bunting (Passerina amoena). In The Birds of North America, No. 232 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, PA, and The American Ornithologists’ Union, Washington, D.C.
- Boylan JT. Ph.D. (1995). Effects of early experience on mate choice and song learning by lazuli buntings (Passerina amoena). Colorado State University, United States, Colorado.
- Klicka JT. Ph.D. (1999). A molecular perspective on the evolution of North American songbirds. University of Minnesota, United States, Minnesota.
- Muehter VR. M.Sc. (1996). Signaling competitive status in lazuli buntings (Passerina amoena): The importance of age-specific differences in song and plumage. Queen's University at Kingston (Canada), Canada.
- Baker MC. (1991). Response of Male Indigo and Lazuli Buntings and Their Hybrids to Song Playback in Allopatric and Sympatric Populations. Behaviour. vol 119, no 3-4. pp. 225–242.
- Baker MC. (1994). Does exposure to heterospecific males affect sexual preferences of female buntings (Passerina)?. Animal Behaviour. vol 48, no 6. pp. 1349–1355.
- Baker MC. (1996). Female buntings from hybridizing populations prefer conspecific males. Wilson Bulletin. vol 108, no 4. pp. 771–775.
- Baker MC & Baker AEM. (1988). Vocal and Visual Stimuli Enabling Copulation Behavior in Female Buntings. Behavioral Ecology & Sociobiology. vol 23, no 2. pp. 105–108.
- Baker MC & Baker AEM. (1990). Reproductive Behavior of Female Buntings Isolating Mechanisms in a Hybridizing Pair of Species. Evolution. vol 44, no 2. pp. 332–338.
- Baker MC & Boylan JT. (1995). A catalog of song syllables of Indigo and Lazuli Buntings. Condor. vol 97, no 4. pp. 1028–1040.
- Baker MC & Boylan JT. (1999). Singing behavior, mating associations and reproductive success in a population of hybridizing Lazuli and Indigo Buntings. Condor. vol 101, no 3. pp. 493–504.
- Baker MC & Johnson MS. (1998). Allozymic and morphometric comparisons among Indigo and Lazuli buntings and their hybrids. Auk. vol 115, no 2. pp. 537–542.
- Baylor LM & Rosine W. (1971). Reflections on Summer Birds of Harding County. South Dakota Bird Notes. vol 23, no 1. pp. 12–13.
- Berry ME & Bock CE. (1998). Effects of habitat and landscape characteristics on avian breeding distributions in Colorado foothills shrub. Southwestern Naturalist. vol 43, no 4. pp. 453–461.
- Blakesley JA & Reese KP. (1988). Avian Use of Campground and Noncampground Sites in Riparian Zones. Journal of Wildlife Management. vol 52, no 3. pp. 399–402.
- Carson RJ & Spicer GS. (2003). A phylogenetic analysis of the emberizid sparrows based on three mitochondrial genes. Molecular Phylogenetics & Evolution. vol 29, no 1. pp. 43–57.
- Cook RE. (1977). 1st Pennsylvania USA Photographic Record and Other Eastern Sightings of the Lazuli Bunting. Auk. vol 94, no 1.
- Cormack RM. (1993). The flexibility of GLIM analyses of multiple recapture or resighting data. Lebreton, J-D. vol [Editor], North, P, p. Advances in Life Sciences; Marked individuals in the study of bird population.
- Cruickshank HG. (1978). 1st Florida Record of the Lazuli Bunting. Florida Field Naturalist. vol 6, no 1.
- Davison WB. (1998). Starvation and nestling ejection as sources of mortality in parasitized lazuli bunting nests. Great Basin Naturalist. vol 58, no 3. pp. 285–288.
- Deweese LR, Henny CJ, Floyd RL, Bobal KA & Shultz AW. (1979). Response of Breeding Birds to Aerial Sprays of Trichlorfon Dylox and Carbaryl Sevin-4-Oil in Montana USA Forests. U S Fish & Wildlife Service Special Scientific Report Wildlife. vol 224, pp. 1–29.
- Emlen ST, Rising JD & Thompson WL. (1975). A Behavioral and Morphological Study of Sympatry in the Indigo Buntings and Lazuli Buntings of the Great Plains. Wilson Bulletin. vol 87, no 2. pp. 145–179.
- Falk CJ. (1974). Lazuli Bunting in Moorhead. Loon. vol 46, no 3. pp. 115–116.
- Fletcher RJ, Jr. & Miller CW. (2006). On the evolution of hidden leks and the implications for reproductive and habitat selection behaviours. Animal Behaviour. vol 71, no Part 5. pp. 1247–1251.
- Friesen VC. (1986). Lazuli Bunting at Rosthern Canada. Blue Jay. vol 44, no 3.
- Gardali T, Holmes AL, Small SL, Nur N, Geupel GR & Golet GH. (2006). Abundance patterns of landbirds in restored and remnant riparian forests on the Sacramento River, California, USA. Restoration Ecology. vol 14, no 3. pp. 391–403.
- Gardali T, King AM & Geupel GR. (1998). Cowbird parasitism and nest success of the Lazuli bunting in the Sacramento Valley. Western Birds. vol 29, no 3. pp. 174–179.
- Greene E, Lyon BE, Muehter VR, Ratcliffe L, Oliver SJ & Boag PT. (2000). Disruptive sexual selection for plumage coloration in a passerine bird. Nature. vol 407, no 6807. pp. 1000–1003.
- Haughian T. (2004). Surprises at the Scissons Centre near Saskatoon. Blue Jay. vol 62, no 2. pp. 77–79.
- Klicka J, Fry AJ, Zink RM & Thompson CW. (2001). A cytochrome-b perspective on Passerina bunting relationships. Auk. vol 118, no 3. pp. 611–623.
- Kroodsma RL. (1971). North-Dakota Species Pairs Part 1 Hybridization in Buntings Grosbeaks and Orioles Part 2 Species Recognition Behavior of Territorial Male Rose-Breasted and Black-Headed Grosbeaks Pheucticus. Dissertation Abstracts International B Sciences & Engineering. vol 32, no 3.
- Kroodsma RL. (1975). Hybridization in Buntings Passerina in North-Dakota and Eastern Montana USA. Auk. vol 92, no 1. pp. 66–80.
- Manweiler SA, Lane RS, Block WM & Morrison ML. (1990). Survey of Birds and Lizards for Ixodid Ticks Acari and Spirochetal Infection in Northern California USA. Journal of Medical Entomology. vol 27, no 6. pp. 1011–1015.
- Muehter VR, Greene E & Ratcliffe L. (1997). Delayed plumage maturation in Lazuli buntings: Tests of the female mimicry and status signalling hypotheses. Behavioral Ecology & Sociobiology. vol 41, no 4. pp. 281–290.
- Pradel R, Hines JE, Lebreton J-D & Nichols JD. (1997). Capture-recapture survival models taking account of transients. Biometrics. vol 53, no 1. pp. 60–72.
- Randler C. (2006). Behavioural and ecological correlates of natural hybridization in birds. Ibis. vol 148, no 3. pp. 459–467.
- Rowe SP & Cooper DS. (1997). Confirmed nesting of an Indigo with a Lazuli Bunting in Kern County, California. Western Birds. vol 28, no 4. pp. 225–227.
- Spofford SH & Fisk LH. (1977). Additions to the List of Nectar Feeding Birds. Western Birds. vol 8, no 3. pp. 109–112.
- Sullivan BL, Kershner EL, Dunn JJ, Kaler RSA, Lynn S, Munkwitz NM & Plissner JH. (2005). The birds of San Clemente Island. Western Birds. vol 36, no 3. pp. 158–273.
- Swenson NG. (2006). Gis-based niche models reveal unifying climatic mechanisms that maintain the location of avian hybrid zones in a North American suture zone. Journal of Evolutionary Biology. vol 19, no 3. pp. 717–725.
- Thompson WL. (1968). The Songs of 5 Species of Passerina Passerina-Leclancherii Passerina-Ciris Passerina-Versicolor Passerina-Cyanea Passerina-Amoena. Behaviour. vol 31, no 3/4. pp. 261–287.
- Thompson WL. (1972). Song Characteristics of Indigo Bunting and Lazuli Bunting in a Zone of Hybridization. American Zoologist. vol 12, no 4.
- Thompson WL. (1976). Vocalizations of the Lazuli Bunting. Condor. vol 78, no 2. pp. 195–207.
- Turley NJS & Holthuijzen AMA. (2005). Impact of a catastrophic flooding event on riparian birds. Western North American Naturalist. vol 65, no 2. pp. 274–277.
- Weaver RE. (2004). Pituophis catenifer (Gopher Snake) diet. Herpetological Review. vol 35, no 2. pp. 179–180.
- Whitmore RC. (1975). Indigo Buntings in Utah USA with Special Reference to Interspecific Competition with Lazuli Buntings. Condor. vol 77, no 4. pp. 509–510.
- Young BE. (1989). First Specimen Record of the Indigo Bunting Passerina-Cyanea New-Record in British Columbia Canada. Canadian Field Naturalist. vol 103, no 3.
- Young BE. (1991). Annual Molts and Interruption of the Fall Migration for Molting in Lazuli Buntings. Condor. vol 93, no 2. pp. 236–250.
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