A research team has identified the genetic structure of the painted bunting, a neotropical migratory songbird, using microsatellite DNA and single nucleotide polymorphisms to develop high-resolution markers. Using this information, the team can differentiate between individual birds breeding in different Oklahoma populations and across the U.S., as well as between the eastern and western painted buntings, and identify the species pattern of migration and population of origin. The team is working to better understand why certain painted bunting populations are declining. The painted bunting breeds primarily in the U.S. during the summer and migrates to Mexico, Central America, southern Florida and the Caribbean over the winter. Male painted buntings are brightly colored, which makes them highly sought after as pets, particularly in Mexico, Central America and Europe. Pet market birds examined for the study are most likely from the central breeding population in the U.S.
Visit Website | Image credit: Andrea Contina/University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma Biological Survey