Western Bluebird

The western bluebird features a striking blue head and throat contrasting with chestnut colored scapulars, breast and flanks. The upper back varies from almost all blue to almost entirely chestnut in color. Compare with the eastern bluebird which has a chestnut-colored throat (may also be white in some females).

 

western bluebird

Western Bluebird - male

 

Female western bluebirds have a brownish-gray back and head. The wings and tail are light blue while the throat, belly, and undertail coverts are a grayish white. The breast is a pale rust. The females also have a dull white eye ring.

 

Habitat

Favors open woodlands, savanna-like habitats or agricultural areas with scattered trees. Often also found in riparian woodlands and park-like habitats.

Distribution

The Western Bluebird is a permanent resident in much of its range. In some areas migration consists of moving to lower elevations during the winter.

 

western bluebird range

 

Song

The western bluebird's song is a quick pwe or meew, most often heard in the early morning. Like the eastern bluebird, the western gives a musical call in flight. A hard chattering note is also sometimes given.

Nesting

Nests in natural or man-made cavities, 2-50 feet above the ground. The nest is built from grasses, twigs or pine needles and is lined with fine grasses.

  • Eggs: 3-8, usually 4 to 6; 21 mm.
  • Color: light blue.
  • Incubation: about 13-17 days and starts after the last egg is laid. Female incubates the eggs and both sexes care for the young.
  • Young fledge in about 18-22 days.
  • The adults will continue to care and feed the young for 3-4 weeks.
  • Number of Broods: 1, 2 and occasionally 3..
  • The young of the first brood may help feed the baby birds in the 2nd brood.

Diet

Mostly insects in spring, summer and fall. Will feed from perches, dropping to the ground for its prey.

The Western Bluebird is also well known for its hovering flight and catching insects in the air. In winter the diet turns more heavily to fruit and berries.

The Western Bluebird will visit feeders for berries, raisens and especially mealworms.