Bluebirds are captivating creatures known for their mesmerizing shades of blue, making them a favorite among birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts alike.
These colorful songbirds can be found across North America in various species such as the eastern, western, and mountain bluebirds. Intriguingly, each species has its unique traits that set it apart from the others.
Here’s a guide that provides you with a more in-depth look at the different types of blue birds, including their appearance, habitat, behavior and other unique features.
- Eastern, Mountain, and Western Bluebirds are the most common species of blue birds found in North America. Each has unique traits that set them apart from each other.
- The Indigo Bunting, Blue Grosbeak, and Blue Jay are also types of blue birds found in North America but have distinct differences from the three primary bluebird species.
- Other noteworthy blue bird species include the Tree Swallow, Lazuli Bunting, Steller’s Jay, Blue-throated Hummingbird, Blue-winged Warbler, and Blue-faced Parrotfinch.
- Understanding the behaviors and interactions between different types of blue birds is crucial for their conservation.as habitat loss continues to pose a threat to their populations.
The Most Common Types Of Blue Birds
The most common types of blue birds are the Eastern Bluebird, Mountain Bluebird, Western Bluebird, Indigo Bunting, Blue Grosbeak, and Blue Jay.
1. Eastern Bluebird
The Eastern Bluebird, known for its vibrant blue plumage and rusty red chest, is the most widespread of the three bluebird species found in North America.
These eye-catching birds prefer open woodlands, farmlands, and orchards as their habitat.
Unfortunately, Eastern Bluebirds suffered a decline in population during the early 20th century due to competition with invasive species such as European Starlings and House Sparrows.
Conservation efforts have since helped in their recovery as people continue setting up nesting areas for them. Belonging to the Sialia genus, Eastern Bluebirds are closely related to Mountain and Western Bluebirds but sport distinguishable differences in coloration that make them unique among their relatives.
2. Mountain Bluebird
The Mountain Bluebird, native to the mountainous regions of western North America, is an awe-inspiring member of the bluebird species known for its vivid sky-blue plumage.
As one of the most migratory birds among bluebirds, they often cover significant distances and travel from higher altitudes during cold months to milder southern elevations; however, some individuals may settle for shorter ranges instead.
Despite being closely related to Eastern and Western Bluebirds, these vibrant creatures can be easily distinguished by their entirely bright blue body without any reddish hues on their chest or back.
Mountain Bluebirds predominantly inhabit open areas like meadows and forests at high altitudes where insects are abundant – serving as a primary food source alongside berries and seeds.
They create nest cavities in tree hollows or use those left behind by woodpeckers in order to lay eggs while exhibiting excellent parenting instincts throughout raising their young ones.
3. Western Bluebird
The Western Bluebird is a stunning species easily recognized by its vibrant blue plumage and distinctive blue band that wraps under their chin, making them slightly brighter than their Eastern counterparts.
While the beauty of Western Bluebirds is undeniable, these birds also exhibit fascinating behaviors. They are insectivorous creatures but adapt their diet to include berries and fruits depending on seasonal availability.
As secondary cavity nesters, they rely on existing cavities created by other species for their nesting sites rather than excavating new ones themselves.
4. Indigo Bunting
The Indigo Bunting is a small but striking bird with vibrant blue feathers. It is a sexually dimorphic species, meaning only males have the bright blue plumage for which they are known.
In some parts of the East, Indigo Buntings may be the most abundant songbird around and they have captured hearts due to their stunning coloration.
Despite being relatively small in size at just 11.5-13 cm long, Indigo Buntings are tough birds that can withstand harsh weather conditions during migration periods.
5. Blue Grosbeak
The Blue Grosbeak is a stunning medium-sized songbird that can be found in North and Central America. They are known for their vibrant blue plumage, with adult males having dark blue upperparts and two broad stripes on their wings.
What sets them apart from other birds is their very large, thick, triangular bill that can easily crack open even the hardest of seeds. Weighing between 0.92 to 1.11 ounces, they are speedy birds capable of reaching top speeds of up to 30 mph.
6. Blue Jay
Blue Jays are popular birds of North America, known for their distinctive blue, white, and black plumage and noisy calls. These large songbirds are related to Crows and are often seen in backyards or woodlands.
Male and female Blue Jays look very similar with a perky crest on their heads.
Although sometimes confused with Bluebirds due to their name, the two species are quite different in appearance. Despite this confusion, the Blue Jay is a beloved bird among many nature enthusiasts.
Other Noteworthy Bluebirds
Other noteworthy bluebirds include the Tree Swallow, Lazuli Bunting, Steller’s Jay, and many more.
7. Tree Swallow
Tree Swallows are a type of bird that have readily utilized bluebird nest boxes across many parts of the US and Canada. They are hardier than other swallows and compete actively with bluebirds for scarce resources when their ranges overlap.
Interestingly, Tree Swallows tend to nest in holes of exactly the same size as bluebirds, which can lead to conflicts over nesting sites.
8. Lazuli Bunting
Lazuli Buntings are often mistaken for Western Bluebirds due to their physical similarities. However, they are not actually bluebirds, despite their similar appearance.
The male Lazuli Bunting has a unique lapis lazuli-colored plumage during the breeding season. Their upper parts are bright blue and their underparts range from white to light brown.
These beautiful birds can be found throughout western North America, migrating south during the winter months.
9. Steller’s Jay
Steller’s Jay is a stunning blue bird that belongs to the crow family and can be found in both western North America and the mountains of Central America. With its long, straight, and powerful bill, it is one of the largest songbirds in North America.
Although its striking dark blue plumage with black head markings makes it visually similar to Blue Jays, they are different species with only a slight difference between them.
Steller’s Jay has a slightly longer tail than Blue Jay and tends to have more iridescent feathers on its head.
10. Blue-Throated Hummingbird
The Blue-throated Hummingbird is a stunning bird species with iridescent green upperparts and a bright blue throat. This is the largest hummingbird found in the United States, and males are larger than females.
During breeding season, male Blue-throated Hummingbirds can become quite aggressive towards other birds or humans who encroach on their territory. Females share many similarities with Magnificent Hummingbirds but have larger white-tipped tail feathers.
If you happen to spot a Blue-throated Mountain Gem in your backyard, consider yourself lucky as they are not common visitors in North America! Named for their vibrant blue throat, this larger hummingbird species migrates from the northern border of Mexico to the southern parts of Arizona and New Mexico each year.
11. Blue-Winged Warbler
The Blue-winged Warbler is a beautiful species with blue-gray wings and two white wing bars. Found across eastern parts of North America, this migratory bird primarily feeds on insects and spiders.
In Tennessee, it is a common to uncommon migrant and nests mainly in Middle Tennessee. The closely related Golden-winged Warbler can often be found in the same habitats as the Blue-winged Warbler.
It breeds throughout Ohio but becomes very local if nesting habitat is scarce.
12. Blue-Faced Parrotfinch
The Blue-faced Parrotfinch is a striking bird species found in north-eastern Australia, Japan, and Indonesia. Males of this finch have multi-colored feathers ranging from light yellow-green to dark blue-green, with a bright blue face that contrasts beautifully against its brownish-gray body.
Interestingly, immature Blue-faced Parrotfinches attain their full color at around 20 months of age. These birds are compatible with other finches and can be bred in a mixed colony for those who enjoy aviculture.
13. Blue-Capped Cordonbleu
The Blue-capped Cordon-bleu is a stunning African bird with deep sky blue plumage on its head, body, tail, and wings. This highly sought-after species can be found in several East African countries such as Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, and Tanzania.
The male birds are known for their striking appearance while the female has a similar but duller plumage. As members of the Estrildidae family (known as finches), these birds are admired for their beauty and unique features.
Beautiful Blue Birds From Around The World
Blue Tit is a beautiful bird species found in Europe and Asia, while the Hyacinth Macaw’s stunning blue feathers can be seen in South America.
14. Blue Tit (Europe And Asia)
The Blue Tit is a small, round-headed tit with bright blue feathers on its crown, wings, and tail. It is one of the most common bird species found in gardens and woodland areas throughout Europe and Asia, including the United Kingdom.
They are known for their acrobatic skills, often seen hanging upside down while searching for insects or spiders to eat. These birds have a varied diet that includes seeds, berries, and even nectar from flowers.
Interestingly enough, besides their striking appearance and unique behaviors, these birds are also known for their intelligence. In fact, scientists have conducted studies showing that Blue Tits can learn how to open milk bottles by pecking through bottle caps to access cream! This level of problem-solving demonstrates just how intelligent these birds truly are.
15. Ultramarine Flycatcher (South And Central America)
The Ultramarine Flycatcher, also known as Ficedula superciliaris, can be found in South and Central America. This small songbird is known for its striking electric blue plumage on the head and back, contrasting with snowy white underparts.
Interestingly, birds that are blue do not create blue pigments but instead reflect light to appear blue. The male Ultramarine Flycatchers are beautiful birds and often use their vibrant coloration to attract mates during breeding season.
In contrast, the female Ultramarine Flycatcher has dull gray-brown feathers with paler underparts.
16. Turquoise-Browed Motmot (Central America)
The Turquoise-browed Motmot is a stunning medium-sized bird commonly found in Central America, stretching from Mexico to Costa Rica. This beautiful bird boasts an array of colors including green, blue, black, orange and turquoise which are displayed on its long feather tail and body feathers.
The strikingly vibrant plumage makes the Turquoise-browed Motmot one of the most recognizable birds in Costa Rica. It is also the national bird of El Salvador, symbolizing freedom and liberty as it flies through the tropical forests.
17. Blue-Eared Kingfisher (Southeast Asia)
The Blue-eared Kingfisher is a stunning bird found in Southeast Asia that prefers to live near pools and streams in dense evergreen forests.
This species has five subspecies spread across their Asian range, making them quite diverse when it comes to physical appearance. With dark blue feathers above and bright orange plumage below, the Blue-eared Kingfisher boasts an orange spot in front of its eyes and white ear tufts on the sides of its head.
Despite their striking colors, these birds can be hard to spot due to their elusive nature.
18. Hyacinth Macaw (South America)
The Hyacinth Macaw is a stunning creature with royal blue plumage and yellow accents around its eyes and beak. This parrot species is one of the largest in the world, reaching up to 100cm in length.
It can mimic human speech and has an incredibly strong beak that it uses to crack nuts and seeds. Unfortunately, this beautiful bird is classified as endangered due to habitat loss and poaching for the pet trade.
One remarkable thing about the Hyacinth Macaw is its uniform cobalt blue coloration, creating an incredible contrast with its bright yellow face masks. These birds tend to breed from July through December each year, laying two eggs at a time within nests they make in tree cavities or termite mounds.
The chicks spend around three months in their nests before leaving for good; during this time, both parents will care for them by feeding them regurgitated food until they’re ready to fledge on their own.
19. Indian Roller (Indian Subcontinent)
The Indian Roller is a stunning blue bird found widely across the Indian subcontinent. It boasts a sky blue colored tail with hints of Prussian blue, which makes it an incredibly beautiful sight to behold.
The feathers towards the center of its body have a dull green tint that gives it a unique appearance.
Aside from their mesmerizing beauty, Indian Rollers are also known to be voracious predators as they feed on various small animals including insects such as beetles and grasshoppers.
These birds can often be seen perched high in trees or aerial foraging in open areas where prey is abundant.
Symbolism And Legends Surrounding Blue Birds
Bluebirds hold cultural significance in various communities, with Native Americans considering them as symbols of love and happiness, while ancient Greeks believed that blue birds were messengers from the gods.
Cultural Significance Of Blue Birds
Bluebirds hold great cultural significance in many cultures and traditions, particularly among Native American tribes. For them, the bluebird is believed to bring happiness and cheerfulness, representing the renewal of life and prosperity.
In Chinese mythology, it is said that bluebirds are responsible for carrying messages to heaven.
In some cultures, such as Celtic folklore, spotting a bluebird is believed to be an omen of good luck. The color blue itself holds significant meaning across different cultures; it represents freedom, loyalty, wisdom, and gentleness.
For these reasons, the appearance of a blue bird may signify peace or harmony with nature or represent spiritual clarity or enlightenment.
Symbolism In Literature And Folklore
Bluebirds have been the subject of many literary works and folklore throughout history. In Western culture, they are often associated with happiness, hope, and renewal.
In Native American culture, bluebirds are believed to be messengers between humans and the divine. They are seen as symbols of knowledge, protection, and guidance.
Overall, bluebirds hold significant cultural significance around the world due to their unique characteristics such as their bright-blue plumage and friendly nature.
Characteristics And Behaviors
Bluebirds are perching birds known for their bright blue feathers, soft whistling songs, and insect-based diets.
Bluebirds are known for their striking blue plumage, which varies in shade among the different species. The Eastern Bluebird has a blue back and wings with rust-colored breast and sides, while the Mountain Bluebird has pale blue upperparts and white underparts.
The Western Bluebird has a bright blue head and back with rusty red on its breast. Other noteworthy blue birds such as the Indigo Bunting have deep-blue feathers, while Lazuli Buntings have shades of azure-blue feather tinged with brown.
In terms of physical features, most Bluebirds have short, slender beaks adapted to eating insects or small fruits like elderberries or grapes. They also have long wings and tails that help them navigate through open areas where they typically live.
Habitat And Behavior
Bluebirds are mainly found in open grasslands with scattered trees and little understory. Eastern Bluebirds, for instance, prefer living in areas around trees but with sparse ground cover.
They build their nests within natural cavities or nest boxes erected for them in meadows, farmland, orchards, and suburban landscapes as long as they provide the necessary habitat requirements.
Behaviorally, bluebirds are territorial birds that display similar behavior traits to woodpeckers. Males sing songs to attract females and discourage other males from entering their territory while both males and females feed on insects such as beetles and crickets.
Diet And Reproduction
Bluebirds have a mainly insectivorous diet, feeding mainly on insects such as beetles, grasshoppers, and caterpillars. Eastern Bluebirds forage primarily from perches and sometimes fly down to catch prey off the ground.
During breeding season males will select a spot for nesting before attempting to attract females through the use of song and dance displays. Females do most of the incubation of eggs while both males and females bring food to the nestlings along with young from previous broods sometimes also helping with feeding duties.
In summary, bluebirds’ diet primarily consists of insects such as beetles and grasshoppers which they capture by foraging mostly from perches while mating process entails males selecting spots for nesting before utilizing song and dance displays to attract potential partners.
Comparison Of Bluebird Types
In this section, we will compare the different types of bluebirds in terms of their physical characteristics, habitat, behavior, diet, and reproduction. Here is a comprehensive table to help you understand the similarities and differences among the Eastern, Western, and Mountain Bluebirds.
||Small songbird measuring about 7 inches, blue head, back, and wings, rusty-orange breast, and white belly.
||Open woodlands, farmlands, and orchards in eastern North America.
||More solitary birds, sweet bird song. Aggression between partners is common.
||Insects, fruits, and some seeds.
||Monogamous pairs, up to three broods per year, with 2-7 eggs per brood.
||Similar in size to the Eastern Bluebird, boasts a deep blue head, wings, and tail, with a vibrant reddish-orange chest.
||Open woodlands and forests in western North America.
||Less sociable than Blue Jays, sweet bird song. Aggression between partners is common.
||Insects, fruits, and some seeds.
||Monogamous pairs, up to two broods per year, with 3-7 eggs per brood.
||Turquoise blue plumage with a lighter blue breast and belly. Similar in size to other bluebirds.
||Mountain meadows and open woodlands in western North America.
||More solitary birds, sweet bird song. Less aggressive than other bluebirds.
||Insects and some fruits.
||Monogamous pairs, up to three broods per year, with 4-8 eggs per brood.
Bluebirds are a fascinating and diverse group of birds that come in many shapes, sizes, and shades of blue. From the Eastern Bluebird, beloved for its striking azure plumage and sweet song, to the Hyacinth Macaw of South America with its regal blue feathers, each species has unique characteristics and behaviors that make them truly special.
Whether you’re a birdwatcher or just appreciate the beauty of nature, there’s something captivating about these feathered wonders.
1. What are the different types of blue birds?
There are three main types of blue birds in North America: the Eastern bluebird, the Western bluebird, and the Mountain bluebird.
- Eastern bluebird: The Eastern bluebird is the most common type of blue bird in North America. It has a bright blue head, chest, and back, with a rusty-red breast and belly. Eastern bluebirds are cavity nesters and prefer open habitats with scattered trees, such as fields, meadows, and parks.
- Western bluebird: The Western bluebird is similar to the Eastern bluebird, but it has a slightly different color pattern. The Western bluebird has a darker blue head and back, and a lighter blue breast. Western bluebirds are also cavity nesters and prefer open habitats with scattered trees, such as grasslands, woodlands, and deserts.
- Mountain bluebird: The Mountain bluebird is the smallest of the three types of blue birds. It has a bright blue head and back, with a white breast and belly. Mountain bluebirds are cavity nesters and prefer open habitats with scattered trees, such as mountain meadows and forests.
2. Where do blue birds live?
Blue birds are native to North America, and they can be found in a variety of habitats, including open fields, meadows, woodlands, and even suburban areas. Blue birds are cavity nesters, and they will often use nest boxes that have been provided by humans.
3. What do blue birds eat?
Blue birds are insectivores, and they eat a variety of insects, including beetles, grasshoppers, and wasps. Blue birds will also eat berries and fruit.
4. How many eggs do blue birds lay?
Blue birds typically lay 4-6 eggs, and the eggs hatch after about 12-14 days. The young birds fledge after about 16-18 days.
5. How long do blue birds live?
Blue birds can live for up to 10 years in the wild.
6. How can I attract blue birds to my yard?
There are a few things you can do to attract blue birds to your yard, including:
- Providing a nesting box.
- Planting native plants that attract insects.
- Keeping your yard free of pesticides.
- Offering a water source.
7. How do different species within this group differ from one another?
Different species within the group have varying physical characteristics and habits that set them apart, such as differing migratory patterns or nesting behaviors.
For example, Eastern Bluebirds tend to build nests inside tree cavities whereas Mountain Bluebirds prefer hollow fence posts or other man-made structures for their homes instead!