Lazuli Bunting x Indigo Bunting Hybrid
Lawrence County, SD
June 2003

This photo was published in an article "Passerina Buntings on the Move" in Birding: September 2011 (News and Notes, Paul Hess). It was also mentioned that it was possibly a "variant second calendar year male Indigo Bunting".  I still think the white wing bars make it more likely a hybrid, but without DNA testing, there is no way to be sure what this bird is.


After reading this paper (Emlen, S. T., J. D. Rising, and W. L. Thompson. 1975. A behavioral and morphological study of sympatry in the Indigo and Lazuli buntings of the great plains. Wilson Bull. 87:145-179.) I realized I had another photo of a bunting that may be a hybrid. The authors used color as a criteria for determining hybrids (color can affected by diet too). Here it is, taken June 2009 in Stanley County, South Dakota. The Emlen et al. paper can be downloaded at this LINK.