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Eastern Bluebird - BirdForum Opus

Photo © by GaryT
Wellsboro, Pennsylvania, May 2006
Sialia sialis


Photo © by KC Foggin
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, USA,

Length 16·5–21 cm (6½-8¼ in), Wingspan 33cm (13 in)

  • Blue upperparts
  • Orange throat, sides of neck, and chest
  • White belly
  • Blackish tips on tail
  • Black eyes and legs

Female: similar, but drabber, with rusty colour in place of orange, and grey nape
Juvenile: has speckled breast.

Similar Species

Photo © by Stanley Jones
Camelot Park, Bryan, Texas, USA, 18 May 2021

Similar to Western Bluebird, which has a blue throat. Belly and undertail whiter, not as grey.


Eastern Bluebirds are found east of the Rockies, southern Canada to the Gulf States and south-eastern Arizona and south to Nicaragua.
A rare vagrant in Cuba.



This is a polytypic species, consisting of seven subspecies in two groups[1]:

Photo © by the late Donny Taylor
Wayne County, North Carolina, 12 May 2020

Eastern Group

  • S. s. sialis:
  • S. s. bermudensis:

Guatemala Group

  • S. s. fulva:
  • Mountains of south-central Arizona to southern Mexico (Guerrero); winters to Guatemala
  • S. s. nidificans:
  • Mexico (south-western Tamaulipas to central Veracruz)
  • S. s. guatemalae:
  • Southern Mexico (Chiapas) and Guatemala
  • S. s. meridionalis:
  • S. s. caribaea:
  • Eastern Honduras and north-eastern Nicaragua


Photo © by the late Donny Taylor
Wayne County, North Carolina, USA, 7 May 2021

Found in open stands of mature pine woods and dead trees, farmlands and orchards.


Photo © by STEFFRO1
Shallow Creek bay, Murrells Inlet, South Carolina, October 2017

The bright blue breeding plumage of the male, makes it easy to see when perched on a wire or open perch, prior to fluttering down to the ground to feed.


The diet consists of insects such as grasshoppers, crickets or beetles during the summer with fruit and berries added in the autumn and winter months. Feeds mostly in open to semi-open areas.
Defends its feeding areas in winter, even when in flocks.


Breeding season mainly from March to August with a peak in April in all areas. Most populations are double-brooded, however birds in boreal Canada and Florida are mostly single-brooded, while in the south of its range many pairs breed three times a year (with records of up to five broods in one season). A monogamous species, but polygyny and polyandry occur. Can be a semi-colonial nester if the opportunity arises.
The nest is a loose cup made of grass and/or pine needles. It's placed in cavities including bird houses. Lays 3 to 7 eggs. 13 to 14 days incubation period is followed by 18 to 19 days nestling period.
Brood parasitism by Cowbirds occurs but is low.


Northern populations migrate south in small groups, sometimes in flocks of several hundreds. A diurnal migrant.
Migrating birds arrive in their breeding grounds from late February to mid-May and leave again from late September to October or mid-November. In Central America residents move to lower altitudes in winter.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, J. A. Gerbracht, D. Lepage, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2021. The eBird/Clements checklist of Birds of the World: v2021. Downloaded from https://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Gowaty, P. A. and J. H. Plissner (2020). Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis), version 1.0. In Birds of the World (A. F. Poole, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.easblu.01

Recommended Citation

External Links

GSearch checked for 2020 platform.1