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Eastern Bluebird Sialia sialis


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Eastern Bluebird pair, female upper, male lower
credit: Sandysphotos2009/CCSA

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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Family: Turdidae, Thrushes view all from this family

Description ADULT MALE Has mainly deep blue upperparts, including scapulars; on the head the color forms a distinct cap. Throat, sides of neck, breast, and flanks are orange-red while belly and undertail are white. ADULT FEMALE Has mostly gray-brown upperparts with blue flight feathers and tail, and orange wash on underparts. JUVENILE Brown overall with pale spots on upperparts and scaly-looking underparts.

Dimensions Length: 7" (17 cm)

Habitat Has declined markedly in recent decades, but still common overall and widespread as a summer visitor (present mainly Apr-Sep) across the north of its range; present year-round further south and winter range extends to northeastern Mexico. Favors lightly wooded terrain including regenerating woodland and large gardens. Reasons for decline include habitat destruction and degradation, but nest competition from European Starlings and House Sparrows has also contributed. Nest box schemes are helping to restore many local populations.

Observation Tips Easy to see within range; to encourage the species' presence and reproductive success install suitable nest boxes in your garden.

Range Texas, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, Plains, Western Canada, New England, Eastern Canada, Southwest, Florida, Rocky Mountains, Great Lakes

Voice Song is a rapid series of twittering warbling notes; call is a sharp tch'ree.

Discussion One of eastern North America's most familiar and best-loved birds. An extremely colorful species that perches conspicuously on wires and branches, scanning for insect prey on ground below onto which it then drops. Also flycatches and gleans insects from foliage while hovering; berries are an important part of its diet in fall and winter in particular. Nests in tree holes and readily takes to nest boxes. Forms sizeable flocks outside the breeding season, sometimes mixing with other species. Sexes are dissimilar.