Since Breeding Bird Survey data have documented the decline of Atlantic coast populations of the Painted Bunting, better knowledge of this species' biology is necessary for development of coherent management plans. Studies of both western and eastern populations are needed, as well as studies comparing the species' breeding success in both natural and disturbed habitats. The interactions of this species with cowbirds poses interesting evolutionary questions. Western Painted Buntings have had long exposure to cowbird pressures; eastern Painted Buntings have only recently had their breeding range invaded by cowbird expansion (see Lowther 1993a). Potential differences between bunting populations in response to cowbird parasitism may be important in the development and implementation of management plans for the species.
Impact of the cage-bird trade in Mexico on this species needs study and continued monitoring.
Since this species shows site fidelity, long-term studies of marked populations can provide baseline data of breeding biology and measures of lifetime reproductive success. Better knowledge of this species' habitat requirements on breeding and wintering grounds, as well as on the molt staging areas used by western populations, is needed so that these habitats can be identified and properly managed.
Genetic studies of eastern and western populations of Painted Buntings are needed to determine whether the 2 populations represent separate species. Genetic studies may also help determine whether eastern and western populations maintain allopatric wintering ranges.
Extensive work has been done to describe Painted Bunting song; since buntings have adapted well in captivity, the study of vocal development within this species, and in comparison with other Passerina, could be quite profitable.