Unusual Sighting Report
For Utah

Hotline Sighting Report

Common name:

Indigo Bunting

Scientific name: Passerina cyanea
Date: July 26, 2012
Time: 11:30 a.m.
Length of time observed: 7 minutes
Number: 1
Sex: male
Location:  Lower Hobble Creek Wildlife Management Area
County: Utah
Latilong: 6
Elevation: 4488
Distance to bird: 30 feet
Optical equipment: 10x binoculars, 75-300mm telephoto lens
Weather: hot, clear sky, no wind
Light Conditions: mid-day sunlight
Description:        Size of bird: small, sparrow sized
(Description:)       Basic Shape: Perching bird
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: solid blue with darker wingtips
(Description:)            Bill Type: short, finch-like
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
We followed this bird for some time as it moved to a couple of trees that were right above where we were walking. It was a small bird with a finch-like beak, bright blue feathers that were black on the wing tips. It's face was also darker grey/black that faded into the blue of it's back and breast. It had dark legs. What made this bird unique was it had very distinctly white tail feathers. This made it very hard for us to identify, but we finally concluded that it must be a slightly leucistic Indigo Bunting.
(photos in YouTube video)
Song or call & method of delivery: clear tweets while perched  Listen to YouTube video
Behavior: It sat high in the tree and sang for a few minutes before it flew to the next tree and did the same thing. Finally it flew away.
Habitat: Tall trees along an abandoned road that bordered a wetland on one side and an open field on the other.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
Blue Grossbeak - eliminated because of the size of the beak
Lazuli Bunting - eliminated because this bird had no brown coloration at all, and the Lazuli song it much more complex than this bird
Blue Bunting - Utah not in range at all
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
References consulted: Audubon, iBird Pro HD (iPad), Peterson, whatbird.com forums
Description from: Notes made later
Observer: Rindee Sannar
Observer's address: 2378 E 1700 S, Spanish Fork, UT
Observer's e-mail address: **
Other observers who independently identified this bird: Rick Sannar
Date prepared: 7/30/2012
Additional material: YouTube video with the photographs
Additional comments: I compiled a YouTube video with the photographs I took along with the recording of the call. I have included the link in the Additional Materials section.