The genus Passerina is a group of birds in the cardinal family (Cardinalidae). Although not directly related to buntings in the family Emberizidae, they are sometimes known as the North American buntings (the North American Emberizidae are colloquially called "sparrows" although they are also not closely related to these birds).

Painted bunting (Passerina ciris)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Cardinalidae
Genus: Passerina
Vieillot, 1816
Type species
Tanagra cyanea
Linnaeus, 1766

See text


Linaria Bartram, 1791

The males show vivid colors in the breeding season; the plumage of females and immature birds is duller. These birds go through two molts in a year; the males are generally less colorful in winter. They have short tails and short slim legs. They have smaller bills than other Cardinalidae; they mainly eat seeds in winter and insects in summer.

The blue grosbeak (P. caerulea) was once placed in the monotypic genus, Guiraca.

Taxonomy and list of speciesEdit

The genus Passerina was introduced by the French ornithologist Louis Jean Pierre Vieillot in 1816.[1] The type species was designated in 1840 as the indigo bunting (Passerina cyanea) by the English zoologist George Robert Gray.[2][3] The genus name is from the Latin passerinus meaning "sparrow-like".[4]

The genus contains 7 species:[5]

Male Female Common Name Scientific name Distribution
    Blue grosbeak Passerina caerulea (Linnaeus, 1758) southern half of the United States and much of northern Mexico, migrating south to Central America and in very small numbers to northern South America; the southernmost record comes from eastern Ecuador.
    Indigo bunting Passerina cyanea (Linnaeus, 1766) southern Canada to northern Florida during the breeding season, and from southern Florida to northern South America during the winter.
    Lazuli bunting Passerina amoena (Say, 1822) southern Canada to northern Texas, central New Mexico and Arizona, and southern California.
    Varied bunting Passerina versicolor (Bonaparte, 1838) Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas in the United States south throughout Mexico as far as Oaxaca
    Painted bunting Passerina ciris (Linnaeus, 1758) southern Arizona, southern New Mexico, southern and eastern Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, northern Florida, coastal Georgia, the southern coast and inland waterways such as the Santee River of South Carolina and northern Mexico.
  Rose-bellied bunting Passerina rositae (Lawrence, 1874) Isthmus of Tehuantepec in the Mexican states of Oaxaca and Chiapas
  Orange-breasted bunting Passerina leclancherii Lafresnaye, 1840 Mexico


  1. ^ Vieillot, Louis Jean Pierre (1816). Analyse d'une Nouvelle Ornithologie Élémentaire (in French). Paris: Deterville/self. p. 30.
  2. ^ Gray, George Robert (1840). A List of the Genera of Birds : with an Indication of the Typical Species of Each Genus. London: R. and J.E. Taylor. p. 46.
  3. ^ Paynter, Raymond A. Jr, ed. (1970). Check-List of Birds of the World. Volume 13. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Museum of Comparative Zoology. pp. 237–238.
  4. ^ Jobling, James A. (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Christopher Helm. p. 294. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.
  5. ^ Gill, Frank; Donsker, David, eds. (2019). "Cardinals, grosbeaks and (tanager) allies". World Bird List Version 9.2. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 22 June 2019.