Description of the Eastern Bluebird

BREEDING MALE

The Eastern Bluebird has pale grayish-blue to bright blue upperparts, head, and wings, a rufous throat and breast, and a white belly.

Males are bright blue above, with bright rufous on the breast.

 

Eastern Bluebird

 

Female

Females are grayish-blue above and pale rufous on the breast.

 

Eastern Bluebird

Seasonal change in appearance

None.

Juvenile

Juveniles are mostly grayish, with spotted underparts and upperparts.

Habitat

Eastern Bluebirds inhabit open country with scattered trees.

Diet

Eastern Bluebirds eat insects and berries.

Behavior

Eastern Bluebirds typically forage by observing for prey from low perches, and then flying to the ground to capture it.  Berries are a more important part of the diet in winter.

Range

Eastern Bluebirds breed throughout the eastern U.S. and southeastern Canada. They are resident in the south, and migratory in the north. The population has increased in recent decades.

More information:

Bent Life History

Visit the Bent Life History for extensive additional information on the Eastern Bluebird.

Wing Shape

The shape of a bird's wing is often an indication of its habits and behavior. Fast flying birds have long, pointed wings. Soaring birds have long, broad wings. Different songbirds will have a slightly different wing shape. Some species look so much alike (Empidonax flycatchers) that scientists sometimes use the length of specific feathers to confirm a species' identification.

Wing images from the University of Puget Sound, Slater Museum of Natural History

Fun Facts

Eastern Bluebirds have increased in part due to nest boxes put out by bluebird enthusiasts.

Juvenile Eastern Bluebirds can be sexed by plumage, something that is fairly rare among birds.

Vocalizations

The song is a musical, two-note whistle.  A common call is a hard whistle.

Nesting

The Eastern Bluebird’s nest is a loose cup of plant materials placed in a natural cavity or nest box.

Number: Usually lay 4-5 eggs.
Color: Pale blue.
Subelliptical to short subelliptical, smooth and glossy.

Incubation and fledging:
The young hatch at about 13-16 days and fledge at about 18-19 days, though remaining dependent on the adults for some time.