Overall there has been a general decline in painted bunting numbers since the mid 1960's. Their desirability as caged birds and loss of habitat is the primary cause of their decline. Painted Buntings are still trapped and sold in Central America and transported over-seas by ship. Habitat destruction constitutes the main reason for their decline. Development of coastal swamp thickets and woodland edges has significantly reduced their eastern coastal habitats. The loss of mid-migratory staging areas (riparian habitat) in southwest USA and in northwest Mexico have contributed to the western population decline. To a lesser extent brood parasitism by cowbirds (Molothrus ) contributes to the Painted bunting's decline. The painted bunting is currently listed on Partners in Flight Watchlist as a species of special concern (Kaufmann 1996, Lowther et al. 1999).
Painted buntings are listed as near-threatened by the IUCN, and they are protected by the U.S. Migratory Bird Act.
US Migratory Bird Act: protected
US Federal List: no special status
CITES: no special status
State of Michigan List: no special status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: near threatened