15 common types of blue birds (Explain & Photo)
Birds are fascinating creatures because they show us the beauty of life. They demonstrate the diversity and variety of shapes, colors, sizes, and behaviors found within each species.
What makes a bird beautiful? Are they always colorful, or does their plumage play a role too?
Have you ever wondered why some birds look unique? Some have striking colors or unusual shapes to attract their mates. In this post, let’s discover 15 breathtaking types of blue birds.
15 common types of blue birds
1. Blue Grosbeak
Scientific name: Passerina caerulea
Size: It measures about 14 to 19 cm (5.5 to 7.5 in), and its wingspan is from 26 to 29 cm (10 to 11 in). It weighs from 26 to 31.5 g (0.92 to 1.11 oz).
Appearance: Males have a big triangular beak covering most of their faces, while females have a hefty beak. Males are blue with chestnut wing bars, but their mates have cinnamon plumage with brown wing bars.
It is a common bird found throughout North America. This species is named after its beautiful blue plumage during the breeding season. However, male birds lose much of their vibrant colors during winter months.
They turn into drabber versions of the females, making them easier to identify. Males are easily distinguished because of the bright blue coloring on their bodies.
Their loud and distinctive call is known as the “grosbeak song.”
Diet: They mainly feed on insects, especially grasshoppers and crickets, but also consume some seeds from wild and domesticated plants. Their insect diet includes beetles, bugs, cicadas, treehoppers, and caterpillars.
Habitat: These birds make their homes in old fields, forest edges, transmission-line corridors, hedgerows, stream edges, deserts, mesquite savannas, salt cedar forests, and southern pine forests.
Breeding/Nesting: They usually build their nest in small trees, bushes, tangles of vine, briers, or other vegetation, near open areas or roads.
The female lays 3-5 eggs per clutch, which hatch after a period of incubation lasting approximately 12 days. Both parents take turns feeding the young chicks.
2. Mountain Bluebird
Scientific name: Sialia currucoides
Size: They measure around 16 to 20 cm (6.3 to 7.9 in). Their average weight is 30g with a wingspan of 28-36 cm (11.0-14.2 in).
Appearance: It is among the brightest blue-colored songbirds in western North America, sporting a sky blue-grey front and brilliant cerulean back. In contrast, females are drab, with only a few spots of blue. Males and females look very similar, but males are larger and more colorful.
Diet: They mostly eat fruits, berries, and insects.
Habitat: They live in coniferous forests, meadows, riparian zones, and shrublands.
Breeding/nesting: Females lay 4-8 eggs per clutch. Incubation is over 13-14 days. Both parents share the responsibility of raising the young. They fledge at 18-21 days and depend on their parents for another 3 weeks to 2 months.
3. Eastern Bluebirds
Scientific name: Sialia Sialis
Eastern bluebirds are one of the most familiar birds in North America. They are found throughout the continent, except in Alaska and Hawaii.
Size: They are medium-sized birds that can reach up to 21 cm (8.3 in) long and weigh about 27-34g.
Appearance: Males are brighter than females. They have dark brownish-red breasts. Females are paler, with gray on the top of their heads and backs and some blue on their tails and wing tips.
Diet: They feed on flying insects, mollusks, insect larvae, and berries.
Habitat: Eastern bluebirds prefer to inhabit open countries with patchy vegetation and large trees or nest boxes.
Breeding/nesting: They place their nests in natural cavities, nesting boxes, or other artificial shelters. Bluebirds usually choose old woodpeckers’ holes in dead pines or oaks up to 50 feet off the ground among available natural cavity sites. Females lay 2-7 eggs per clutch. Incubation is about 11-19 days.
4. Indigo Bunting
Scientific name: Passerina cyanea
The Indigo bunting is a medium-sized American songbird that lives in North America. It belongs to the family Emberizidae, which includes sparrows, finches, and Old World flycatchers. The Indigo Bunting has five subspecies: the eastern, western, mountain, boreal, and Palearctic.
The Indigo Bunting is one of the most popular backyard birds. It has been bred commercially since the early 1900s. Its popularity stems from its striking appearance and beautiful songs.
Size: The Indigo Bunting measures approximately 12–15 inches (30–38 cm) tall with a wingspan of 18–22 inches (46–56 cm).
Appearance: Adult males have a vibrant blue plumage during summer, with slightly richer blue on their heads. During the winter, they are brown, just like females, only year-round.
Scientists consider indigo buntings blackbirds – because of different light angles hitting their feathers, some birds look blue.
Diet: This bird eats seeds, fruits, and berries.
Habitat: It can be seen in fields, woodlots, parks, gardens, and other open habitats.
Breeding/Nesting: The Indigo Bunting breeds from late March through May. The female lays three to six cream-colored eggs in a shallow cup nest. Both parents feed the chicks. Young birds leave the nest after about 12 days.
The Indigo Bunting is a migratory species. It winters in Central America and South America.
5. Blue Jay
Scientific name: Cyanocitta cristata
Size: It’s about 22 – 30 cm in length and weighs around 65 – 110 g.
Appearance: The Blue Jay is a common bird found throughout North America. Its name derives from the Latin word “Blau,” meaning “blue.” This bird is quite large and has a distinctive blue body. Its back is covered in beautiful blue feathers with black bars and a long light blue tail with black stripes.
Habitat/diet: Blue Jays are often seen flying over fields and forests, where they feed on insects, seeds, berries, nuts, and fruit. They build nests out of sticks and twigs lined with grasses, moss, lichens, feathers, hair, and even pieces of bark.
Breeding/nesting: They mate for life, and pairs usually raise four young each summer. Blue Jays are primarily monogamous, but some birds form pair bonds with other species members.
6. Tree Swallow
Scientific name: Tachycineta bicolor
The Tree swallow is a small passerine bird in the swallow family. It is found throughout much of Europe and Asia.
The scientific name translates as “swift-tailed swift”.
Size: The tree swallow measures about 15 cm (6 inches).
Appearance: Tree swallows are small migratory songbirds with long, pointed wings and short, squared, or slightly notched tails.
Not entirely black, these birds still have an almost metallic greenish-blue back and head, together with a white throat, breast, and belly.
Diet: Tree swallows eat flying insects, especially moths, flies, and butterflies.
Swallows are known for their ability to fly upside down. This allows them to catch prey without having to flap their wings. They can even dive underwater to catch aquatic insects.
Habitat: Tree swallows prefer temperate forests and nest in cavities in dead branches or hollows in living trees.
Breeding/Nesting: This species migrates to west Mexico and Central America in July and August. It is a fast flyer, reaching speeds of more than.
During migration, tree swallows spend time resting in trees. They use these sites as staging areas, resting until they have accumulated enough energy to continue their journey.
7. Northern Parula
Scientific name: Setophaga americana
Size: It measures about 11cm and weighs about 7,9g.
Appearance: The northern parula is a small, medium-sized, short-necked bird with a blue-gray body, two bold white wing stripes, a bright yellow throat, a white belly, a white eye stripe, and a black eye line.
Diet: Their diet consists mainly of insects, berries, seeds, and sometimes spiders.
Habitat: The Northern Parulas are among the most common birds along the Appalachian Trail. These tiny birds live in mature forested areas along streams, swamps, and other lowland areas and migrate south yearly.
Breeding/nesting: You might hear the Northern Parula singing during migration season. They nest in tree cavities, usually near water sources.
8. Lazuli Bunting
Scientific name: Emberiza szovatii
Size: It measures about 13-15cm and weighs around 13-18g.
Appearance: Lazuli bunting is a common bird in North America. It has a brilliant turquoise head and neck, contrasting with its dark back.
You might worry about mistaking a Lazuli Bunting for an Indigo Bunting, but there are several ways to tell them apart. While only the males of both species are blue, Lazuli buntings aren’t completely blue-feathered. They have brown breasts and a white belly.
Diet: They eat caterpillars, spiders, grasshoppers, ants, beetles, butterflies, grasshopper eggs, and other insects found in the undergrowth. They also eat berries, and seeds from serviceberry, choke cherry, wild oat, chickweed, and other grasses.
Habitat: They’re found in brushy hillsides, near streams, wooded valleys, thickets, and hedges along agricultural fields; and at elevations ranging from sea level to 9,500 feet.
They are common near recently burnt areas but less so in selective logging forests or clear cuts.
Breeding/nesting: The female chooses where to lay her eggs. She makes her nests in bushes such as willows, wild roses, ninebarks, snowberries, blackberries, or Oregon grapes, usually within three feet of the ground and sometimes near the edges of the bush.
She lays her 3-4 eggs per clutch in 11-14 days.
9. Steller’s Jay
Scientific name: The scientific name for this bird is Cyanocitta stellerii.
Size: Its body length ranges from 30–34 cm, weighing about 100–140 g.
Appearance: It is one of several species of Blue jays found throughout North America. The Steller’s Jay is a medium-sized bird with half charcoal and half blue plumage. It’s got a black crown and some blue stripes on its face and beak.
Diet: Like many birds, they eat nuts, berries, insects, and small animals. However, they are omnivorous and will take seeds and fruits. Their diet includes pine cones, acorns, beechnuts, chestnuts, and cattail pollen.
Habitat: You can see them in the evergreen forests of western North America, at 3,000-10,000 feet (lower along the Pacific coast), coniferous, coniferous-deciduous forests, and arid pine-oak woodland.
Breeding/nesting: Both members choose the nesting location, usually a conifer, and collect nesting materials together. They usually nest in trees by putting their nests on horizontal branches near the trunk and sometimes near the tops of the trees.
10. California Scrub-Jay
Scientific name: Aphelocoma californica
Size: This bird measures about 27-34 cm long and weighs about 80 g.
Appearance: The California scrub jay has a combination of deep azurite blue, clean white underparts, and soft grey-brown upper parts. It looks very similar to the Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay but is brighter and more contrasting, with a bold blue breast band.
Diet: They eat mainly insects and fruits during spring and summer. They switch to nut and seed foods during fall and winter, especially acorns. They also eat lizards and nesting bird chicks, sometimes following adults to find their nests.
Habitat: They live in the scrub, oak woodlands, and suburban yards.
Breeding/nesting: Males or females may select the nest location. Typically it’s fairly low (6-14 feet high) in an oak tree, but it may be in laurel sumac, bay, madrone, and poison oak, among others. Nesting sites are usually well concealed among vegetation, vines, and mistletoe.
11. Barn Swallow
Scientific name: Hirundo rustica
The scientific name for the bird is Hirundo rustica. The genus name “Hirundo” means “swift,” while the specific name “Rustica” refers to the Latin word for “country.” So it makes sense that this type of swallow lives in rural areas.
Size: It measures about 15 – 20 cm and weighs around 17 – 20 g.
Appearance: Barn swallows are one of the most common species flying around New York City. And they’re easy to spot because of their bright colors — purple heads, blue backs, long grey tails, and orange bellies.
Diet: Barn swallows feed mostly on insects, but they’ll also eat other things like fruit, berries, or seeds.
Habitat: These birds prefer meadows, fields, farmyards, over water, or perched on wires near feeding areas and nesting sites.
Breeding/nesting: Their referable sites include eaves, rafters, cross beams of buildings, barns, sheds, and stables, and the underside of bridges, wharves, and culverts.
The female lays three to seven eggs. She incubates them alone while the male brings her food. He stays near the nest throughout the summer. When the young hatch, both parents feed them. The chicks fledge about seven days later.
12. Black-throated Blue Warbler
Scientific name: The scientific name for the Black-throated Blue warbler is Setophaga caerulescens.
Size: Its body length is about 13 cm, weighing about 9-10g. Males are bigger than females.
Appearance: Their common names are derived from the coloration of their backs. They are commonly called “bluebirds,” “warblers,” or “wrens.” This bird has a short tail and long rounded wings with white wing bars, a black face, and a white chest.
Diet: They feed mostly on insects and spiders. They eat caterpillars, grasshoppers, crickets, and beetles. In addition, they take berries and fruit off trees and shrubs.
Habitat: This small songbird spends most of its life in larger tracts of hardwood and mixed hardwood-evergreen forests with a shrubby understory.
Breeding/nesting: They nest in dense understory shrubs and saplings, including laurel, rhododendron, yew, spruce saplings, and viburnum. A female lays 2-5 eggs per clutch. Both parents care for the young. Young birds fledge at about 3 weeks old.
13. Cerulean Warbler
Scientific name: Setophaga cerule
Size: It is a small songbird, measuring about 11.5cm long, and weighs about 8,6 g.
Appearance: The male Cerulean Warblers are stunningly beautiful, with bright blue plumage and a white throat and chest, a long pointed tail, a cerulean neckband, and streaks down the sides. Females are equally well-dressed, wearing a dusky color of blue-green.
Diet: Ceruleans feed mainly on insects and spiders during breeding and nectar during non-breeding seasons.
Habitat: They inhabit deciduous forests, especially in river valleys, and breed in mature hardwoods either in uplands or along streams. They also prefer elm, soft maple, oak, birch, hickory, beech, basswood, linden, sycamore, or black ash.
Breeding/nesting: The female lays three to five eggs each season, usually four.
Incubation takes about 13 days, and fledging occurs after another 10 to 14 days. Young birds continue to grow rapidly for three weeks.
14. Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher
Scientific name: Polioptila caerulea
They are commonly known as the “blue-gray gnatcatchers,” although some call them just “gnatcatchers.” This name refers to the fact that many species of gnatcatchers have long tails that look like cat whiskers.
Size: Its body length is about 10–13 cm (3.9–5.1 in), it’s 6.3 in (16 cm) in wingspan, and it weighs about 6.5 g.
Appearance: Males are grayish-whitish underparts and have a mostly dark tail with white borders. The underside of the tail is mostly white. The face has a thin but obvious white eyering. Females are grey above with a thin white eyering.
Diet: They eat small insects, spiders, and other invertebrates.
Habitat: In the east, they breed in deciduous forests near the edge, usually in moist areas. You can also look for them in short woodlands and shrubland, including pinyon junipers and oaks in the west.
Breeding/Nesting: Parents jointly decide where to place their nests. Usually, they choose live broadleaf trees in a less dense part of their territory.
Nests tend to be found high up in trees, often on branches or around knots or twigs for support, and always higher than the midpoint of the tree.
They lay three to five eggs per clutch. Incubation lasts about 11-15 days, and fledglings leave the nest after 20 to 25 days.
15. Red-Breasted Nuthatch
Scientific name: Sitta canadensis
Size: This is a tiny bird that weighs about 10g. Its body is 12 centimeters long.
Appearance: This bird is one of the most recognizable members of its family due to its distinctive coloring.
A female looks like a male, except she has a longer bill and slightly larger eyes.
Males’ heads have a black mask around the eye area and a dark stripe across the face with white stripes. Their upper part is grey, and their belly is brownish-orange. Young birds are similar to adults but lack orangish coloring.
Habitat: The Red-breasted Nuthatch is a common species of bird found across North America. This particular bird lives in coniferous and mixed forests, especially near water sources.
Diet: These birds are often seen feeding on insects and seeds, although they do eat some berries and fruit. Their diet consists mainly of invertebrates such as beetles, ants, crickets, grasshoppers, caterpillars, spiders, and snails.
During fall and winter, they consume conifer seeds, including those they cached earlier in the year.
Breeding/nesting: They nest in dead trees and shrubs in cavities, laying 2 eggs per clutch. Both parents care for the young, which remain in the nest for about 9 days.
When nesting, they are aggressive towards other hole-nesting species, such as the House Wrench, White-breasted Nutcracker, and Downy Wood Pecker.
If you’re lucky enough to spot a bird, keep quiet and give them some space.
You might even want to try taking a few pictures of the birds. This way, you’ll remember what you saw next time you go out birding!