Inside: A complete guide to blue birds in Montana 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 Montana. 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 Montana Are Included
- Blue-Colored Birds In Montana
All Variations Of Blue Birds In Montana Are Included
This article includes blue-colored wild bird species in Montana 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 Montana 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.
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
- 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 Montana:
Blue-Colored Birds In Montana
|Appearance||7″ 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.|
|Diet||Insects, preferably beetles, wasps, and flies. Drinks by skimming the surface of the water.|
|Feeder Food||Not likely to visit a feeder.|
|Habitat||Open fields and pastures.|
|Nesting||Typically 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.|
|Appearance||Large 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.|
|Diet||Mostly fish with some crustaceans, insects, amphibians, reptiles, young birds, small mammals, and berries.|
|Feeder Food||Unlikely to come to the feeder but often attracted to yards with streams or ponds.|
|Habitat||Near streams, rivers, ponds, lakes, and calm marine waters – especially unclouded water with little vegetation.|
|Nesting||Dig burrows along waters edge. 1-2 broods/season, 5-8 eggs/brood – large white glossy eggs (1.5″ long), 22-24 days incubation.|
|Appearance||Large 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.|
|Diet||Insects, fruit, seeds, nuts, other birds’ eggs and nestlings.|
|Feeder Food||Whole peanuts, sunflower seeds, and cracked corn.|
|Habitat||Forested areas with mixed trees types. Also common in suburbs and urban areas.|
|Nesting||Nest: 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.
Wouldn’t you love to have blue jays in your yard? Check out: 7 Proven Ways to Attract Blue Jays to Your Yard.
|Appearance||12.5″ 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.|
|Diet||Insects, grains, seeds, fruit, scavenged garbage.|
|Feeder Food||Sunflower seeds, black-oil sunflower seeds.|
|Habitat||Fields with scattered trees, open woodlands, farmlands, and marshes. Common in suburban yards.|
|Nesting||Bulky 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.|
|Appearance||7″ long, royal blue, orange throat & breast, white belly & undertail. Female is similar but more muted colors|
|Diet||Insects & spiders in spring/summer. Small fruit in Fall/Winter.|
|Feeder Food||Suet, sunflower seeds, dried fruit, jelly.|
|Habitat||Wide-open spaces, fields, meadow.|
|Nesting||Nest: Cavity nesters. The male bluebird determines the nest site (an old woodpecker hole in a tree or manmade nestbox), but the female is the one who builds the nest. She keeps the nest for multiple broods.|
Brood: 2-7 broods/season
Clutch: 4-5 eggs/brood
Egg color: Pale blue eggs (sometimes white) with no blemishes or discoloration.
Egg size: 0.9 inches by 0.8 inches
Incubation: 11-19 days
|Appearance||Small bird 5″ long. Breeding males are bright blue with short, gray, triangle-shaped beaks, and dark blue wings with a brush of tan. Wintering male and first-spring male are patchy brown and blue. Females are a soft yellowish-brown and some light streaking on the underparts.|
|Diet||Small seeds, insects, and fruits.|
|Feeder Food||Although not a regular at the feeder you may entice them with nyjer/thistle and white millet seeds.|
|Habitat||Brushy fields, on weedy plants, scrub, and along the edges of the woods. Also in clearings within deciduous woods, and edges of swamps.|
|Nesting||Cup-shaped nest in shrubs or trees 3′ high. Shrubs or trees 3′ high. 1-3 broods/season, 3-4 eggs/brood, eggs are white with few brown spots.|
For more detail about the Indigo Bunting such as its mating & nesting, how to attract them to your yard, and more: check out Proven Ways to Attract Indigo Buntings.
|Appearance||Small 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.|
|Diet||Insects, fruits, and grasses.|
|Feeder Food||White proso millet, sunflower seeds, or nyjer thistle seeds.|
|Habitat||Open woodlands, brushy hillsides, thickets, and backyards throughout the West.|
|Nesting||Cup-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.|
|Appearance||Small 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.|
|Diet||Insects, fruit, and seeds.|
|Feeder Food||Unlikely to visit a feeder.|
|Habitat||Open woodlands, fields, prairies.|
|Nesting||Nest: 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
|Appearance||10-11″ long bird, dusty blue body and lighter blue belly and throat, short tail, and no crown. The female looks similar.|
|Diet||Primarily Pinyon-pine seeds, acorns, fruit, and grains. Also consumes insects, lizards, snakes, nestling birds, and small mammals.|
|Feeder Food||Whole peanuts, sunflower seeds, suet, cracked corn.|
|Habitat||Forested areas comprised of Pinyon-juniper, sagebrush, scrub oak, and other pine trees.|
|Nesting||Large 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.|
|Appearance||4.5″ 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.|
|Diet||Insects, spiders, and other bugs.|
|Feeder Food||Suet, sunflower seeds, shelled peanuts, fruit.|
|Habitat||Forested 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.|
|Nesting||Cavity nesters – prefer to excavate their own holes. 1 brood/season, 6 eggs/brood, eggs are white & speckled with red-brown.|
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.
|Appearance||Large bird 12-14″ long, chubby with blue/gray wings with black pointy tips, short red legs, black, round wide tail, and iridescent neck.|
|Diet||Grains, seeds, and fruit. Commonly seen scavenging trash cans for food.|
|Feeder Food||Millet, cracked corn, black-oil sunflower seed, safflower, peanut hearts.|
|Habitat||Common around cities and towns as well as farmlands|
|Nesting||A 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.|
|Appearance||Large bird 11.5″ long, dark blue body and crest, black head and crest with spots of blue. Females are similar.|
|Diet||Nuts, seeds, fruits, insects, other birds’ eggs and nestlings, small animals.|
|Feeder Food||Whole peanuts, sunflower seeds, and suet.|
|Habitat||Typically found in forested areas of mix tree types – coniferous and deciduous.|
|Nesting||Large 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.|
|Appearance||5-6″ long, dark metallic blue – blue/green with white belly, notched tail and pointed wing tips. Females have same coloring but a bit duller.|
|Diet||Insects and small fruits.|
|Feeder Food||Unlikely to visit a feeder.|
|Habitat||Open areas such as fields, large lawns, and marshes.|
|Nesting||Cavity nester, will use a manmade nest box or natural woodpecker tree hold. 1 brood/season, 4-6 white eggs, 13-16 days of incubation.|
|Appearance||Small bird 7″ long, deep blue underparts, orange-chestnut back and breast. Female gray/blue, light blue wings and tail, and pale chestnut breast.|
|Diet||Insects, fruits & berries.|
|Habitat||Open woodlands especially those with pines and oaks, orchards, and farmland with some trees.|
|Nesting||Nest: 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.
|Appearance||5-6″ 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.|
|Diet||Insects & seeds.|
|Feeder Food||Suet, sunflower seed, shelled peanuts.|
|Habitat||Near mature deciduous and mixed forests; wooded suburban areas such as orchards, parks, and backyards.|
|Nesting||Cavity 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.|
The great state of Montana 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 Montana. If you want to see more blue birds consider taking steps to attract them.