Lazuli Bunting (Passerina amoena)
Associated Species: Other species that may use habitat in a similar way and/or respond similarly
to threats, management, and conservation activities include Mourning Dove, Western Kingbird,
Black-billed Magpie, House Wren, Yellow Warbler, and Bullock's Oriole.
Distribution: Lazuli Buntings nest in southwestern Canada and the western United States. In
Colorado, they are common summer residents, mostly in the foothills and less frequently in the
lowlands, from 1100 to 2900 m (3,500-9,500 ft) elevation. They winter along the west coast of
Habitat Requirements: Favored habitats of Lazuli Buntings include Gambel oak, hillside
shrublands, lowland and foothill riparian shrubland. In all habitats they require low shrubs.
Ecology: Lazuli Buntings begin to arrive in the breeding areas as early as late April. Nesting
begins in May, and young leave the nest by August. They begin fall migration as early as August,
with most birds out of the state by mid September.
Management Issues and Conservation Recommendations: Habitat loss/conversion is the
most critical issue. Some populations are heavily parasitized by Brown-headed Cowbirds.
Reduce or eliminate any activities that degrade the structure and quality of the shrublands of
these riparian systems. Do not permit brush removal within 30 m (100 ft) of the riparian area.
Tightly control or eliminate domestic livestock grazing in these areas; do not permit summer
grazing. Locate recreational facilities such as roads, trails, and campgrounds away from
riparian areas (Myers 1991, Wozinak 1995).
Status and Reasons for Concern: Lazuli Buntings are representative of many other species in
the lowland riparian habitat type because they occupy habitat typically used by other species.
BBS data for Physiographic Area 62 during 1966-1996 do not show a statistically significant
annual rate of change (P = 0.58; n = 16 routes). Lazuli Buntings were present on an average of
23.16% (SE = 3.79) of the BBS routes run in Physiographic Area 62 in Colorado, 1988-1998, at
an average abundance of 0.59 (SE = 0.09) individuals per route. The mean number of routes run
each year was 21.1 (SE = 3.06). This species is monitored by MCB with point transects.
Biological Objective: Increase the species' distribution and abundance, based upon results of the
BBS and MCB monitoring programs.
Selected References: Andrews and Righter 1992, Greene et al. 1996, Kingery 1998.