23 Blue-Headed Birds You Might See in North America: The Complete List + Photos for Fast ID

You spotted a bird with a blue head and want to know what species it is. Or, maybe the bird had some blue on its head. Either way, you’ve come to the right place! This article includes all of the wild bird species in the US and Canada with blue heads. It could could have an entire blue head or part of it is blue. They’re all here.

Below are the 23 birds with blue heads. Later you’ll find a photo of each along with a range map, habitat description, diet and additional information needed to definitively identify that bird.

  1. Northern Parula
  2. Rock Pigeon
  3. Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay
  4. Pinyon Jay
  5. Mexican Jay
  6. Island Scrub-Jay
  7. Florida Scrub-Jay
  8. Common Grackle
  9. California Scrub-Jay
  10. Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher
  11. Belted Kingfisher
  12. Barn Swallow
  13. Lazuli Bunting
  14. Black Throated Blue Warbler
  15. Cerulean Warbler
  16. Tree Swallow
  17. Purple Martin
  18. Blue Grosbeak
  19. Mountain Bluebird
  20. Western Bluebird
  21. Blue Jay
  22. Indigo Bunting
  23. Eastern Bluebird

The next step is to identify it.

In the next section, carefully examine the photos, range maps, and information about each species to determine if that’s the bird you’re interested in.

The range map is particularly helpful in narrowing down the type of bird. They’re color-coded so you know if it’s a year-round bird, there to breed, migrating through, or there during a non-breeding time such as winter. If doesn’t exist in your area, you can probably eliminate it from the running.

range map color coded key

I’ve been backyard birding for more than 25 years and have seen many blue-headed birds in my yard so can speak to them. For the remaining bird species, I rely on my trusty sourcebooks and friends at The Cornell Lab of Ornithology to guide me.

My hope is that this article will help you easily identify the bird that you saw so let’s get at it!

Birds with Blue Heads

Northern Parula

Northern Parula on a branch
Northern Parula. Photo by Ray Hennessy on Unsplash

Appearance: Northern parula is a small bird about 4.5″ long, blue/gray with a yellow throat and back patch, bluish-gray overall with a yellow-green patch on the back, a brown band on the lower, and white strips above and below each eye. Females are similar but more muted colors. neck, and 2 white wing bars.

Diet: Spiders, insects, berries, seeds, nectar.

Feeder food: Unlikely to visit a feeder.

Habitat: Prefer forested areas especially when water is present (streams, marshes) and in the lowland where moss is present.

Nesting: Nests are built in mossy vegetation as high up as 100′ at the end of a branch. 1-2 broods/season, 2-7 eggs/brood, eggs are about .65″ long, white with red/brown/purple speckles and incubation lasts about 12-14 days.

Migration: Northern parulas are migrators. In the spring, they migrate north to breed and raise their young. Then in the fall, they migrate south for the winter.
Breeding range: The US states south and east of Kansas, northern Minnesota, Wisconsin, & Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York, New England, and the southern parts of Canadian provinces Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec.

Winter range: Southern tip of Florida, the Caribbean islands, Mexico, and Central America.

Range Map

Northern parula range map.
Northern parula range map. Compliments of The Cornell Lab.

Rock Pigeon

Rock Pigeon
Rock Pigeon. Photo by Kieran Somerville on Unsplash

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: Rock pigeons build 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.

Migration: Rock pigeons are not migrators. They remain in their year-round range all seasons of the year.
Year-round range: Every US state, the southernmost edges of Canada, and Mexico.

Range Map

Rock pigeon jay range map.
Rock pigeon jay 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.

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.

Mexican Jay

Mexican Jay
Mexican Jay. Photo by Carl Bendorf.
Appearance11.5″ long, large blue bird with gray/blue back, soft white underparts and long tail.
DietAcorns, pinyon nuts, insects, spiders and lizards.
Feeder FoodN/A
HabitatOpen woodlands near pinyon and oak trees.
NestingCup-shaped nest of twigs located tree. 1-6 eggs, eggs are green with dark markings but some have no markings.

Range Map

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

Island Scrub-Jay

Island scrub jay
Island Scrub Jay. Photo by Damon Tighe.
Appearance13″ long, large vibrant blue bird, dark gray back and mask, white throat, light gray belly, large bill, and long tail. Female is similar.
DietAcross, insects, spiders, snakes, lizards, mice, and other birds’ eggs and nestlings.
Feeder FoodN/A – Only 2 people inhabit the island.
HabitatFound exclusively on Santa Cruz Island, California.
NestingBuilt with sticks, twigs, and roots in dense bushes and trees. 2-5 eggs/brood, incubation is about 20 days.

Range Map

Found exclusively on Santa Cruz Island, California.


Florida Scrub-Jay

florida scrub jay perched on a plant
Florida Scrub Jay. Photo by Save Our Florida Scrub Jays.
AppearanceAbout 10″ long, large blue bird, light gray back and belly, swipes of white through forehead, and very long tail. Female is similar.
DietVaried diet of insects, nuts (especially acorns), berries, small snakes, mice, and lizards.
Feeder FoodWhole peanuts.
HabitatLow-growing scrub oak exclusively in Florida.
NestingCup-shaped nest of twigs and fibers located at the edges of scrubbed areas. 1-2 broods/season, 1-6 eggs/brood, eggs are about 1″ long, green with brown spots, 16-21 day incubation and young fledge at about 12-25 days.

Range Map

Florida scrub jay range map.
Florida scrub jay range map. Compliments of The Cornell Lab.

Common Grackle

Common Grackle
Common Grackle. Photo by Patrice Bouchard on Unsplash

Appearance: The common grackle is a large bird about 12.5″ long bird with iridescent blue purple and bronze. Their eyes are yellow and they have long flared tails. The female is similar with less vibrant coloring (browner) and a 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 a conifer tree. 3-5 eggs incubated for 12-15 days. Young fledge at about 12-15 days.

Migration: Common grackles are migrators. While many remain in their year-round range all four seasons, many head north in spring (as far north as Canada’s Northwest Territories) to breed and raise their young. Then in the fall, they head back south into their year-round range. A small part of the population pushes further southwest of Texas.
Year-round range: Nebraska and the US states south and east of it. US states
Breeding range: Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Kansas, western Kansas, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, the New England states, and all Canadian provinces (except for Nunavut and barely British Columbia).
Winter range: Southwest edge of their Texas year-round range.

Range Map

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

California Scrub-Jay

California Scrub Jay
California Scrub Jay. Photo by Rob Stanard.
AppearanceLarge bird 11″ long, slender, shades of bright azure blue and gray, brown patch on the back, white underparts, blue necklace, and long tail. Females look the same.
DietInsects, nuts (especially acorns), seeds, fruit, other birds’ eggs and nestlings, and small animals.
Feeder FoodWhole peanuts, sunflower seeds, and suet.
HabitatAlong the edges of the west coast including from Baja, Mexico to the southernmost part of British Columbia. Prefer open areas with ample trees and scrubs even within suburban and urban areas.
NestingLarge and bulky open-cup nest of twigs and bark, in a tree or bush about 3-10′ up. 2-3 eggs/brood, incubated for 15-17 days and young fledge between 18-23 days. Eggs are 1-1.5″ long, pale green blotched with olive, or pale gray spotted with brown.

Range Map

California scrub jay range map.
California scrub jay range map. Compliments of The Cornell Lab.

Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher

Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher
Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher. Photo by Ray Hennessy on Unsplash

Appearance: Blue-gray gnatcatchers are tiny birds 4.25″ long, with soft blue/gray upperparts, white eye-rings, white underparts, and long black long tails with white under. The females are the same. The breeding male is accented with narrow black eyebrows.

Diet: Insects and spiders.

Feeder food: Unlikely to visit the feeder.

Habitat: Deciduous forested areas.

Nesting:

  • Nest: 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.

Migration: While many blue-gray gnatcatchers remain in their year-round range during the spring & summer, most migrate north into the US for breeding and to raise their young. The migrators then head back south in the fall and return to their year-round range or even further south along the Mexican pacific coast, southern Florida, and the Caribbean islands to spend winter.
Year-round range: The southernmost part of these US states: California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia.
Breeding range: Eastern half of the US as well as California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Kansa, and Oklahoma.

Winter range: Southern California, southwest Arizona, along the pacific coast of Mexico, the southernmost tip of Florida, and the Caribbean islands.

Range Map

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

Belted Kingfisher

Belted kingfisher on a perch
Belted kingfisher. Image by Katherine Durtnell from Pixabay

Appearance: The belted kingfisher is a large 13″ long bird with a large head, long bill, and stocky body.  Blue/gray throughout with white ring around neck and white chest. The Female is the same but with an additional chestnut band on her chest.

Diet: Large 13″ long bird with a large head, long bill, and stocky body.  Blue/gray throughout with white ring around neck and white chest. The Female is the same but with the additional chestnut band on the chest.

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: Belted kingfishers dig burrows along the water’s edge for their nest. 1-2 broods/season, 5-8 eggs/brood – large white glossy eggs (1.5″ long), 22-24 days incubation.

Migration: Many but not all belted kingfishers are migrators. In spring, the migrators will head north into Montana, North Dakota, northern Minnesota, Canada, and Alaska to breed and raise their young. When fall comes the migrators head back south – as far south as Arizona, New Mexico, southern California, and Mexico.
Year-round range: All US states (except North Dakota and Arizona) and the pacific coast of Canada’s British Columbia.
Breeding range: While some stay in their year-round range, many others migrate north into Montana, North Dakota, northern Minnesota, Canada, and Alaska to breed and raise their young. When fall comes the migrators head back south – as far south as Arizona, New Mexico, and southern California.
Winter range: While many belted kingfishers migrate south for winter, just as many remain in their year-round range when the temperatures dip.

Range Map

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

Barn Swallow

Barn Swallow
Barn Swallow. Photo by Lisa Minica.

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: A barn swallow 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.

Migration: Barn swallows are migrators. In spring, they’ll migrate north into the US and Canada for breeding and to raise their young. When fall comes, they’ll head south to Mexico’s southern states. That said, they do maintain a year-round range in central Mexico where they remain for every season.

Range Map

barn swallow range map
Barn swallow 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.

Black Throated Blue Warbler

Black-Throated Blue Warbler.
Black-Throated Blue Warbler. Photo by Forest Jarvis.

Appearance: Black-throated blue warblers are small birds about 5″ long, midnight/steel blue back, black throat, and a white belly

Diet: Insects and fruit.

Feeder food: Suet, peanut butter, and nectar.

Habitat: Prefer mature deciduous and mixed evergreen woodlands with plenty of thick shrubs.

Nesting: They build a cup-shaped nest in a shrub made of bark and spider webs. 1-3 broods/season, 2-5 eggs/brood, eggs are small .6″-.8″, creamy white and speckled. Incubation lasts for about 12-13 days.

Migration: Black-throated blue warblers are true migrators. They head north in spring to breed and raise their young. In the fall, they migrate south to winter in southern Florida and the Caribbean.
Breeding range: Northern Wisconsin, Northern Michigan, eastern Tennessee & Kentucky, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania, the New England states, and Canada’s southern provinces of Ontario and Quebec.
Winter range: Southern Florida and the Caribbean islands.

Range Map

Black throated blue warbler range map
Black-throated blue warbler range map. Compliments of The Cornell Lab.

Cerulean Warbler

Cerulean Warbler
Cerulean Warbler. Photo by Ruth Cornwell.

Appearance: Cerulean warblers are small 4.3″ long birds with sky-blue above, white wing bars, darker blue streaks on the back, white belly, steel/blue neck band & stripes on the sides. The females are light blue/green above, with soft yellow bellies, brown wings, and a bit of white under the eye.

Diet: Insects and plants.

Feeder food: Unlikely to visit the feeder.

Habitat: Deciduous forests with mature tall trees.

Nesting: Cup-shaped nests of twigs, grass, and spiderwebs placed in trees 16-115′ up. 1 brood/season, 1-5 eggs/brood, eggs are .6-.8″ long, gray/green, and speckled with brown, incubation lasts 11-12 days.

Migration: Cerulean warblers are migrators. They head north into the midwest and northeast states for spring & summer then head south to South America for the winter.
Breeding range: Eastern Minnesota, the southern half of Wisconsin & Michigan, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Kentucky, Tennessee, southern New York, and the far southern edge of Canada’s Ontario.
Winter range: South America.

Range Map

Cerulean warbler range map.
Cerulean warbler 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.

Purple Martin

Purple Martin
Purple Martin. Photo by Ruth Cornwell.

Appearance: The purple martin is a medium bird about 8.5″ long with a blue/purple head, back, and belly with black wings and tail.

Diet: Insects especially dragonflies.

Feeder food: Unlikely to visit a feeder.

Habitat: Usually within 100′ of human dwelling. Purple Martins exist in large colonies.

Nesting: Purple martins are cavity nesters. They primarily use manmade nest boxes which accommodate a colony of birds. They have 1 brood/season, 4-5 white eggs/brood, 15-18 days incubation, and fledge after 26-30 days.

Migration: Purple martins are migrators. They spend the winters in South America and migrate north to breed and raise young.
Breeding range: Pacific northwest coast of Washington, Oregon, and California, parts of Arizona, Utah, and Colorado, the eastern half of the US, and the southern parts of Canada’s Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Ontario.
Winter range: South America

Range Map

Purple martin range map.
Purple martin range map. Compliments of The Cornell Lab.

Blue Grosbeak

Blue Grosbeak
Blue Grosbeak. Photo by Donna Cooper.

Appearance: Blue grosbeaks are medium birds about 8″ long, large, bright blue, with large silver bills, and chestnut wingbars. The female’s primary color is light cinnamon with darker-colored wings.

Diet: Insects, seeds, and grains.

Feeder food: Grain and birdseed.

Habitat: Thick shrubbery and areas with tall trees.

Nesting:

  • Nest: Small cup-shaped nest of twigs and miscellaneous organic materials resting in low-lying trees, shrubs, and bushes.
  • Brood: 1-2 broods/season
  • Clutch: 3-5 eggs/brood
  • Egg color: Pale blue to white with occasional brown spots
  • Egg size: 0.8 inches by 0.7 inches
  • Incubation: 12-13 days incubation.

Migration: Blue grosbeaks are migrators. In spring, they migrate north into the US to breed and raise their young. Then in the fall, they head back south for the winter. There is a small area in Mexico they call their year-round home. The birds in this area don’t typically migrate.
Year-round range: Parts of Mexico.
Breeding range: Southern half of the US as well as North Dakota, South Dakota, and Kansas.
Winter range: Mexico and the Caribbean islands.

Range Map

blue grosbeak range map
Blue grosbeak 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.

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.

Blue Jay

Blue jay on snowy branch
Blue jay. Photo by Cathy Cardone.

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. Females 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 tree 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.

Migration: In general, blue jays are not migrators. They remain in their year-round range for all 4 seasons – even during the breeding season. While they may move within their year-round range, they do not regularly head north for breeding and south for winter as some species do. That said, in rare cases, some will head west of their year-round range for the winter.

Range Map

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

Indigo Bunting

Indigo bunting male
Male indigo bunting. Photo by Lonnie Gilstrap.
AppearanceSmall 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.
DietSmall seeds, insects, and fruits. 
Feeder FoodAlthough not a regular at the feeder you may entice them with nyjer/thistle and white millet seeds.
HabitatBrushy fields, on weedy plants, scrub, and along the edges of the woods. Also in clearings within deciduous woods, and edges of swamps.
NestingCup-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.

Range Map

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

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.


Eastern Bluebird

Male eastern bluebird
Male eastern bluebird. Photo by Mike Carmo.

Appearance: Eastern bluebirds are small birds about 7″ long, royal blue, orange throat & breast, white belly & undertail. Female is similar but with 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, meadows.

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

Migration: Some eastern bluebirds are migrators. While many remain in their year-round range all year long, some migrate north for breeding and raising their young then head south in winter back into the year-round range or further west into Colorado, New Mexico, and western Texas.
Year-round range: The US states south and east of Nebraska, Mexico, and Central America.
Breeding range: Northwest Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, the northern half of Wisconsin & Michigan, New Hampshire, Maine, and the southern part of these Canadian provinces: Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec.
Winter range: Eastern Colorado, New Mexico, western Texas, and northeast Mexico.

Range Map

US map showing the migration range of the eastern bluebird
Map depicting where Eastern bluebirds can be found throughout the year. Compliments of Cornell University.

Wrapping Up

Blue-headed birds come in all shapes & sizes. They also exist in various parts of North America.

This article contained all the information you need for accurate and fast identification of the bird you spotted.

  1. First, take a look at color photos of birds matching your description.
  2. Then, check out the species’ range map to confirm whether or not the species lives in your area.
  3. Finally, learn about its habitat and diet to further refine the characteristics of the bird you saw and the known facts about it.
  4. You’ve got a match!

So, did you identify the bird you were interested in? Let me know below in the comments.

Happy Birding!

More than 25 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. Read more about Tammy

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