Eastern Bluebird

Sialia sialis
Eastern Bluebird specimens on display in the exhibit "Birds of D.C."

A small (7 inches) thrush, the male Eastern Bluebird is most easily identified by its deep blue head and back, red breast, and white belly. Female Eastern Bluebirds are similar to males, but are a duller gray-blue on the head and back. This species is unmistakable across much of its range, but Western Bluebirds (Sialia mexicana), which occur in southern Arizona and as vagrants on the western Great Plains, are of similar size and color. The Eastern Bluebird breeds across much of the eastern United States and southern Canada. In winter, northerly-breeding populations migrate to the southern U.S. and northern Mexico, while southerly-breeding populations are non-migratory. Other non-migratory populations exist in Mexico and Central America, one of which extends north into extreme southern Arizona. Eastern Bluebirds historically inhabited variety of open woodland habitats. In modern times, this species has expanded into human-altered environments such as orchards, shrubby agricultural fields, and large yards in suburban areas. Eastern Bluebirds primarily eat fruits, berries, and small invertebrates. In appropriate habitat, Eastern Bluebirds may be observed flying down to the ground from perches in pursuit of prey. In many areas during the breeding season, this species is most easily located by looking for pole-mounted nest boxes in open areas: wherever these nest boxes are found, there are likely Eastern Bluebirds around. This species is primarily active during the day.

DC Information

Permanent resident; local in winter, fairly common in summer. Nests from April to August in marginal habitat in residential and agricultural areas. Female and young do not have the bright blue head and back.

Specimen Information

The bird on the left is a male; the bird on the right is a female.

Distribution Map

distribution map for this species

Bird Vocalizations

Sound from xeno-canto. XC58481 Sialia sialis (Eastern Bluebird)

Sound from xeno-canto. XC71559 Sialia sialis (Eastern Bluebird)

Sound from xeno-canto. XC52426 Sialia sialis (Eastern Bluebird)