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Courtship Habits of the Painted Bunting
The male begins its effort at attracting a female by first establishing a territory of approximately 3 acres. It fiercely defends this space against intrusion from other males. These battles can include eye gouging, wing strikes and can be so vicious that some fights result in the death of one of the combatants.
From there, the male tries to impress the female, often landing on the ground and spreading his wings and tail in a grandiose gesture. Further courting displays include stiff, jerky movements from the male as the green-colored female pecks at the ground.
Nesting Habits of the Painted Bunting
Painted Bunting nests are built quickly – usually only taking two days. Despite this hasty construction, the nest is usually quite securely attached to its host vegetation. The nest itself is always built in dense foliage somewhere between 3 and 6 feet off the ground. Favorite nest sites include inside mesquite, elm, pine and oak trees as well as Spanish moss.
A Painted Bunting nest is cup shaped with the inner area measuring about two inches wide. Constructed by the female, the majority of the nest is made of plant material including grass, twigs, rootlets and bark strips. It’s then held together with cobwebs and often lined with horsehair.
Eggs are usually gray with fine speckles, measuring less than an inch. Each clutch contains three or four eggs, which hatch about 12 days after being laid.
Painted Bunting Chicks
The mother is largely responsible for rearing the chicks once they hatch. Chicks are helpless upon hatching and mostly naked. In the ensuing week, the young grow quickly and about two weeks after hatching the birds are ready to fledge.
If conditions continue to be optimal, the Painted Bunting pair has a second clutch within 30 days of the hatching of the first set of eggs.
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