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BIRD OF THE WEEK
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Passerina cyanea
POPULATION: 78 million
HABITAT: Shrubby areas such as old fields, hedgerows, and forest edges.
A male Indigo Bunting in breeding plumage is a glorious symphony of shimmering blues, turquoises, and purples. But these beautiful colors are illusory.
Bunting owes its glorious appearance to an optical trick — the diffraction of light through its feathers. In poor lighting, the bunting’s glorious colors disappear and it becomes a plain, dark-colored finch.
But Indigo Buntings are more than a treat for the eyes — this species also helped reveal some important secrets about how birds migrate.