Blue Birds in Idaho

Inside: A complete guide to blue birds in Idaho including a full-color photo of each blue bird, details about habitat, diet – including feeder food they’ll eat, appearance, nesting habits, and a range map to show you where in the state you can expect to see them.

You spotted a blue-colored bird in Idaho. The next step is to identify it. I got you!

With more than 20 years of experience attracting backyard birds to my yard (Wisconsin), I’ve studied all of the blue-colored birds in my area so I have the information you’re looking for. For the remaining blue-colored bird species, I rely on my trusty sourcebooks and friends at The Cornell Lab of Ornithology to guide me.

I’ll never forget my first blue-colored bird spotting – which I later learned was an Indigo Bunting! You’d have thought I’d seen Elvis in my backyard. I screamed “blue bird, blue bird” and ran around my house like a lunatic looking for my camera. It was still there when I returned, but not for long. I looked him up in my guide book and there he was in all his royal blue glory. Breathtaking.

All Variations Of Blue Birds In Idaho Are Included

This article includes blue-colored wild bird species in Idaho that range in size from tiny & small to large. The bird could be all blue or partly blue with a secondary color. They could be bright blue birds, dark blue birds, or light blue birds – all variations are here!

Some blue-colored birds live in Idaho year-round, others are here to breed, and others are migrating through. The range maps are color-coded so you know if it’s a year-round bird, there to breed, migrating through, or there during a nonbreeding time.

range map color coded key

I also included a beautiful photo to help you identify these blue beauties along with detail such as:

  • Size + appearance description
  • Diet in the wild and at the feeder
  • Habitat
  • Nest & eggs description
  • Range map

My hope is that this article will help you easily identify the blue bird you saw or plan to see one day. So let’s get at it, here are the blue-colored birds in Idaho:

Blue-Colored Birds In Idaho

Barn Swallow

Barn Swallow
Barn Swallow. Photo by Lisa Minica.
Appearance7″ long, steel blue glossy on top, chestnut forehead and throat, and rust-orange underparts. Long forked tail with a white base. The female’s coloring is lighter and the tail shorter.
DietInsects, preferably beetles, wasps, and flies. Drinks by skimming the surface of the water.
Feeder FoodNot likely to visit a feeder.
HabitatOpen fields and pastures.
NestingTypically nests in or on a manmade structure such as a barn. Builds nests of mud. 2 broods/season, 4-5 eggs per brood, eggs are white with brown markings, incubation from 13-17 days.

Range Map

barn swallow range map
Barn swallow range map. Compliments of The Cornell Lab.

Belted Kingfisher

Belted kingfisher on a perch
Belted kingfisher. Image by Katherine Durtnell from Pixabay
AppearanceLarge 13″ long bird with a large head, long bill, and stocky body.  Blue/gray throughout with white ring around neck and white chest. Female is same but with additional chestnut band on chest.
DietMostly fish with some crustaceans, insects, amphibians, reptiles, young birds, small mammals, and berries.
Feeder FoodUnlikely to come to the feeder but often attracted to yards with streams or ponds.
HabitatNear streams, rivers, ponds, lakes, and calm marine waters – especially unclouded water with little vegetation.
NestingDig burrows along waters edge. 1-2 broods/season, 5-8 eggs/brood – large white glossy eggs (1.5″ long), 22-24 days incubation.

Range Map

belted kingfisher range map
Belted kingfisher range map. Compliments of The Cornell Lab.

Blue Jay

Blue jay on snowy branch
Blue jay. Photo by Cathy Cardone.
AppearanceLarge bird 12″ long, medium blue & white body, blue crest (which he flattens at will), gray belly and white face. White & blue wings with black spots. Female look the same.
DietInsects, fruit, seeds, nuts, other birds’ eggs and nestlings.
Feeder FoodWhole peanuts, sunflower seeds, and cracked corn.
HabitatForested areas with mixed trees types. Also common in suburbs and urban areas.
NestingNest: bulky large nest made from twigs, bark, and mud resting on a tree branch about 5-50′ up.
Broods: 1-2 broods/season,
Clutch: 2-7 eggs/brood,
Egg color: Pale blue to a light brown base color, and these eggs usually have brown or gray spots.
Egg size: 1 inch by just under 1 inch
Incubation: Both parents incubate the eggs for 17-18 days and the young fledge between 17-21 days.

Range Map

Blue jay range map
Blue jay range map. Compliments of The Cornell Lab.

Wouldn’t you love to have blue jays in your yard? Check out: 7 Proven Ways to Attract Blue Jays to Your Yard.


Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher

Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher
Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher. Photo by Ray Hennessy on Unsplash
AppearanceTiny birds 4.25″ long, soft blue/gray upperparts, white eye-rings, white underparts, long black long tail with white under. Females are the same. The breeding male is accented with narrow black eyebrows.
DietInsects and spiders.
Feeder FoodUnlikely to visit the feeder.
HabitatDeciduous forested areas.
NestingNest: Tidy cup-shaped nest of natural fibers, bark, and spiderweb about 3-80′ high in a tree or shrub.
Broods: 1-2 broods/season
Clutch: 3-5 eggs/brood
Egg color: Pale blue with red/brown spots.
Egg size: 0.5 – 0.6 inches by 0.4 – 0.5 inches
Incubation: 11-15 days and the young fledge at about 10-15 days.

Range Map

Blue gray gnatcatcher range map
Blue gray gnatcatcher range map. Compliments of The Cornell Lab.

Common Grackle

Common Grackle
Common Grackle. aPhoto by Patrice Bouchard on Unsplash
Appearance12.5″ long bird with iridescent blue with purple and bronze. Eyes are yellow, long flared tail. Female is similar with less vibrant coloring (more brown) and shorter tail.
DietInsects, grains, seeds, fruit, scavenged garbage.
Feeder FoodSunflower seeds, black-oil sunflower seeds.
HabitatFields with scattered trees, open woodlands, farmlands, and marshes. Common in suburban yards.
NestingBulky cup-shaped nest of twigs placed 3-20′ high in conifer tree. 3-5 eggs incubated for 12-15 days. Young fledge at about 12-15 days.

Range Map

Common grackle range map.
Common grackle range map. Compliments of The Cornell Lab.

Lazuli Bunting

Lazuli Bunting
Lazuli Bunting. Photo taken at the Powell Butte Nature Park in Portland, taken by Patti Bright.
AppearanceSmall bird 5-6″ long, brilliant blue on top, soft orange-cinnamon color chest, white belly and patch on the shoulder, cone-shaped bill, and slightly flat forehead.
DietInsects, fruits, and grasses.
Feeder FoodWhite proso millet, sunflower seeds, or nyjer thistle seeds.
HabitatOpen woodlands, brushy hillsides, thickets, and backyards throughout the West.
NestingCup-shaped nest of bark, twigs, and leaves nestled in a shrub about 3′ up. They have 1-2 broods/season, 3-4 eggs/brood, and eggs are .7-.8″ long and pale blue to faint green/blue or white. 11-14 days incubation period.

Range Map

Lazuli bunting range map.
Lazuli bunting range map. Compliments of The Cornell Lab.

Mountain Bluebird

Mountain Bluebird
Mountain Bluebird. Photo by Arnold Joe.
AppearanceSmall bird about 7″ long. Sky-blue color, darker blue wings and tail, lighter shades of below underneath, white undertail with black wing tips, and straight thin bill. Females are gray/brown with a big of soft blue on their wings and tail.
DietInsects, fruit, and seeds.
Feeder FoodUnlikely to visit a feeder.
HabitatOpen woodlands, fields, prairies.
NestingNest: Cavity nesters – will use an old woodpecker hold or manmade nesting box.
Brood: 1-2 broods/season
Clutch: 4-8 eggs/brood
Egg size: 1″ x .8″
Egg color: Pale blue to bluish-white (rarely pure white)
Incubation: 18-21 days

Range Map

Mountain bluebird range map.
Mountain bluebird range map. Compliments of The Cornell Lab.

Pinyon Jay

Pinyon Jay
Pinyon Jay. Photo by Tom Duncan.
Appearance10-11″ long bird, dusty blue body and lighter blue belly and throat, short tail, and no crown. The female looks similar.
DietPrimarily Pinyon-pine seeds, acorns, fruit, and grains. Also consumes insects, lizards, snakes, nestling birds, and small mammals.
Feeder FoodWhole peanuts, sunflower seeds, suet, cracked corn.
HabitatForested areas comprised of Pinyon-juniper, sagebrush, scrub oak, and other pine trees.
NestingLarge bulky nests of sticks and twigs in the trees about 3-115′ up. 1 brood/season, 2-5 eggs/brood, eggs are 1.3-1.5″ long, pale blue with dark brown specks, incubation last 17 days and young fledge between 21-22 days.

Range Map

Pinyon jay range map
Pinyon jay range map. Compliments of The Cornell Lab.

Red-Breasted Nuthatch

Red-breasted nuthatch on a suet cage
Red-breasted nuthatch. Photo by Robert Heyer.
Appearance4.5″ long, gray/blue backs, white head with black stripes running over either eye, orange-cinnamon-colored breast, and a pointy pick-like beak. Females look the same except their underside is a more faded color. Usually spotted climbing upside-down a deciduous tree foraging for insects beneath the bark.
DietInsects, spiders, and other bugs.
Feeder FoodSuet, sunflower seeds, shelled peanuts, fruit.
HabitatForested areas primarily comprised of coniferous trees (i.e. pines). Woodsy areas of deciduous trees in the east. Southern birds prefer mountainous regions until winter comes in which case they head to lower land.
NestingCavity nesters – prefer to excavate their own holes. 1 brood/season, 6 eggs/brood, eggs are white & speckled with red-brown.

Range Map

Map of the red-breasted nuthatch range
Red-breasted nuthatch range. Compliments of The Cornell Lab.

For more details about the Red-Breasted Nuthatch such as its mating & nesting details, how to attract them to your yard, and more: check out 7 Ways to Attract Red Breasted Nuthatches to Your Yard.


Rock Pigeon

Rock Pigeon
Rock Pigeon. Photo by Kieran Somerville on Unsplash
AppearanceLarge bird 12-14″ long, chubby with blue/gray wings with black pointy tips, short red legs, black, round wide tail, and iridescent neck. 
DietGrains, seeds, and fruit. Commonly seen scavenging trash cans for food.
Feeder FoodMillet, cracked corn, black-oil sunflower seed, safflower, peanut hearts.
HabitatCommon around cities and towns as well as farmlands
NestingA large nest of sticks and grass wherever there’s a ledge (e.g. highway overpass, barns, bridges, tall buildings). 1-6 broods/year, 1-3 eggs/brood, eggs are white, incubation about 18 days and the young fledge at about 25-32 days.

Range Map

Rock pigeon jay range map.
Rock pigeon jay range map. Compliments of The Cornell Lab.

Stellar’s Jay

Stellar's Jay
Stellar’s Jay. Photo by Barbara Ferraro.
AppearanceLarge bird 11.5″ long, dark blue body and crest, black head and crest with spots of blue. Females are similar.
DietNuts, seeds, fruits, insects, other birds’ eggs and nestlings, small animals.
Feeder FoodWhole peanuts, sunflower seeds, and suet.
HabitatTypically found in forested areas of mix tree types – coniferous and deciduous.
NestingLarge open-cup nest of twigs, bark and mud located high in a conifer tree. 1 brood/season, 4-5 eggs/brood, eggs are blue/green with dark brown/purple/olive spots, 16-18 days incubation and the young fledges at about 16-18 days.

Range Map

stellars jay range map
Stellar’s jay range map. Compliments of The Cornell Lab.

Tree Swallow

Tree Swallow
Tree Swallow. Photo by Lisa Minica.
Appearance5-6″ long, dark metallic blue – blue/green with white belly, notched tail and pointed wing tips. Females have same coloring but a bit duller.
DietInsects and small fruits.
Feeder FoodUnlikely to visit a feeder.
HabitatOpen areas such as fields, large lawns, and marshes.
NestingCavity nester, will use a manmade nest box or natural woodpecker tree hold. 1 brood/season, 4-6 white eggs, 13-16 days of incubation.

Range Map

Tree swallow range map.
Tree swallow range map. Compliments of The Cornell Lab.

Western Bluebird

Western bluebird perched on branch
Western Bluebird
AppearanceSmall bird 7″ long, deep blue underparts, orange-chestnut back and breast. Female gray/blue, light blue wings and tail, and pale chestnut breast.
DietInsects, fruits & berries.
Feeder FoodMealworms
HabitatOpen woodlands especially those with pines and oaks, orchards, and farmland with some trees.
NestingNest: Cavity nesters – old woodpecker hold or manmade nesting box.
Brood: 2 broods/season
Clutch: 4-5 eggs/brood
Egg color: Pale blue without blemishes, although sometimes are white
Egg size: Length: 0.8-2.4″ x Width: .8″
Incubation: 12-18 days and young fledge at about 20 days.

Range Map

Mountain bluebird range map.
Mountain bluebird range map. Compliments of The Cornell Lab.

White-Breasted Nuthatch

White-Breasted Nuthatch
White-Breasted Nuthatch. Photo by Shawn Conlon.
Appearance5-6″ long, gray/blue back, white head with a black cap, chestnut under the tail, and a long thin pick-like beak. Females look similar except their cap and neck are gray. Usually spotted climbing upside-down a deciduous tree foraging for insects beneath the bark.
DietInsects & seeds.
Feeder FoodSuet, sunflower seed, shelled peanuts.
HabitatNear mature deciduous and mixed forests; wooded suburban areas such as orchards, parks, and backyards.
NestingCavity nester, 1 brood/season, 5-9 eggs/brood, eggs are white with brown markings, incubation is 11-12 days and young fledge at about 13-14 days.

Range Map

White breasted nuthatch range map
White breasted nuthatch range map. Compliments of The Cornell Lab.

Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay

Woodhouse's Scrub Jay
Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay.
Appearance11-12″ large bird, light blue and gray, white throat, gray belly separated by an indistinct, angled stripe of bright blue on chest, and long wide tail. Female are similar.
DietInsects, fruit, nuts, seeds, lizards and nestling birds, sometimes finding nests.
Feeder FoodWhole peanuts, sunflower seeds.
HabitatPinyon pine habitats, dry shrublands of Nevada on south, suburbs and parks.
NestingBasket shaped nest of twigs and plant in pinyon pine or shrub between 6-14′ up. 1-5 eggs, eggs .9-1.3″ long, pale green blotched with olive, or pale gray spotted with brown. Incubation 17-19 days and long fledge 17-19 days.

Range Map

Woodhouse's scrub jay range map. Compliments of The Cornell Lab.
Woodhouse’s scrub jay range map. Compliments of The Cornell Lab.

Conclusion

The great state of Idaho hosts many different species of blue birds. Hopefully, you’ve identified the one you’re interested in within this article or just broadened your knowledge of blue birds in Idaho. If you want to see more blue birds consider taking steps to attract them.

More than 20 years ago, Tammy put her first bird feeder outside her kitchen window. Since then she learned how to attract wild birds to her backyard. Studying the meaning & symbolism of wild birds is also a passion of hers.