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Colorado Symbols, State Bird & State Flower
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(Calamospiza melancorys Stejneger)
Adopted in 1931.
The Lark Bunting, Calamospiza melanocoryus Stejneger, was adopted as the official state bird on April 29, 1931.
The Lark Bunting is a migrant bird. Flocks arrive in April and inhabit the plains regions and areas up to 8,000 feet in elevation. They fly south again in September. The male bird is black with snowy white wing patches and edgings, tail coverts and outer tail feathers. In winter the male bird changes to a gray brown like the female bird, however the chin remains black and the black belly feathers retain white edgings. The female bird is gray brown above and white below with dusky streaks. The male bird is six to seven inches while the female is slightly smaller. The male bird performs a spectacular courtship flight, during which he warbles and trills a distinctive mating song.
- Length: 6 inches
- Large, pale bill
- White wing patch
Adult male alternate:
- Black plumage
- Large wing patch
- Brownish head with pale supercilium
- Brown streaked back
- White underparts with heavy streaking
- Blackish wings with brown edges and white wing patch
- Basic and immature plumages similar to female
The male Lark Bunting is readily identifiable. Female-type plumage is somewhat similar to various sparrows and female finches but has a white wing patch and a large, pale bill.
Length and wingspan from: Robbins, C.S., Bruun, B., Zim, H.S., (1966). Birds of North America. New York: Western Publishing Company, Inc.
Citation: House Bill 222, 1931; Colorado Revised Statute 24-80-910
||Animalia -- animals
||Chordata -- chordates
||Vertebrata -- vertebrates
||Aves -- birds
||Passeriformes -- perching birds
||Fringillidae -- buntings, finches, grosbeaks, old world finches, sparrows
||Calamospiza Bonaparte, 1838 -- lark buntings
||Calamospiza melanocorys Stejneger, 1885 -- Gorriσn ala blanca, lark bunting
Flower by: Santalady
White & Lavender Columbine
Adopted on April 4, 1899.
The white and lavender Columbine, Aquilegia caerules, was adopted as the official state flower on April 4, 1899 by an act of the General Assembly. In 1925, the General Assembly made it the duty of all citizens to protect this rare species from needless destruction or waste. To further protect this fragile flower, the law prohibits digging or uprooting the flower on public lands and limits the gathering of buds, blossoms and stems to 25 in one day. It is unlawful to pick the columbine on private land without consent of the land owner.
Citation: Senate Bill 261, 1899, Bill, 1925; Colorado Revised Statutes 24-80-905 through 24-80-908.
Hardiness Zone: 3 to 9
Height: 3 ft Spacing: 15 in
Type: herbaceous perennial
Flowers: Blue and white
The two-inch blue or blue and white flowers of this columbine are the Colorado state flower. Do not expect the plant to be long-lived if planted in hot sites. Provide a partially shaded growing area with a moist,
well-drained soil. Beautiful species native to the Rocky mountains with blue and white flowers May thru June
Propagation: Propagation is by seed or division.
References for Cultivars: Bailey Nurseries 1997, Midwest
- 'Blue Bird' - A selection of the 'Songbird Series' with light blue and white flowers (Vis. 1).
- Dwarf Fantasy Series' - Flowers in blue, pink, purple and white. The plants are very small, only 4 inches tall.
- 'Heavenly Blue' - Blue flowers, plant to 3 feet tall.
- 'Rostern' ('Red Star') - Red and white flowers.
||Plantae -- Plants
||Tracheobionta -- Vascular plants
||Spermatophyta -- Seed plants
||Magnoliophyta -- Flowering plants
||Magnoliopsida -- Dicotyledons
||Ranunculaceae Buttercup family
||Aquilegia L. columbine
||Aquilegia caerulea James Colorado blue columbine
||Aquilegia caerulea James var. ochroleuca Hook. white Colorado columbine
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