The Bluebird (one word) isn't the only blue bird. It isn't even
the bluest. Female Eastern Bluebirds often don't look blue at all unless in flight. Only 2% of North American Species have blue feathers. The birds most commonly confused with bluebirds by novices are the Jays and the Indigo Bunting. (Tekiela) Small cavity nesters that are blue or blue-ish include Tree Swallows, Violet-Green Swallows and Purple Martins. Indigo Buntings are very blue, and are often confused with bluebirds. Other small to medium-sized native birds with blue bodies include:
Jays: Blue Jay, Florida Scrub-Jay, Mexican Jay, Pinyon Jay, Steller's Jay, Western Scrub-Jay
Swallows: Bahama Swallow, Barn Swallow, Tree Swallow
Warblers: Black-throated Blue Warbler, Cerulean Warbler
Here's an alphabetic list of North American species with blue or blue-ish bodies, sorted by common name. (Notice several have "cyan" in their scientific names.) Click on any photo (from Wikimedia Commons) for a larger view. For more ID tips, distribution maps and to listen to songs, see Cornell, Patuxent, or What Bird online guides, or get a good birding ID book. ( I am not a birder by any means! All I can recognize are small cavity nesters, so don't bother contacting me for help.)
Distinguish from Bluebird
Location in U.S.
Green back, blue upper wings, green cap extending below eye, white belly and chin
More slender, glittering blue-black upperparts, red-brown forehead chin and throat. Belly is white to orange. Deeply forked, long tail.
More gray, large head, larger overall, bushy crest, white throat and underparts, large dagger-like bill, male has blue-gray breast band. Female has a rusty belly band. One of the few species where female is snazzier than the male.
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Smaller, male has dark blue upperparts, slate blue/black throat and mask. White underparts with black sides and white wing patch/spot on folded wing at base of primaries.
NE US, SE Canada
Larger, bright purple-blue body, black face, two wide rufous/brown wing bars, thick silvery bill; female mostly brown.
Larger, pale gray underparts, head crest, neck surrounded with black necklace, wings and tail have prominent black bars and white patches.
Smaller, faintly streaked underparts, black band separates white throat and belly. Wings have two bold, broad white bars.
Larger, pale eyebrows, gray throat, blue-gray streaks on breast (no crest)
Short, thick bill. Brilliant, irridescent blue all over; female dull brown. Crown is darker blue with purple tint. Wings and tail have black edges.
E from middle of US, parts of SW
Larger, upper breast, throat and chin are white with streaks. Head is blue with a gray mask and narrow white eyebrow. No crest, long tail.
Santa Cruz Island, CA
Cinnamon-brown breast and sides, white belly (breast very like an Eastern Bluebird). Wings have a white wing bar. Short, thick bill, longer tail. Breeding male has bright blue head and back with red chest and white belly like Eastern and Western Bluebirds.
Large, pale gray underparts (no crest), long tail
SW and Mexico
Small, finch beak, with patchwork of red chest, blue head and green back. Red eye-ring. Wings have green shoulder patches. Females are bright greenish yellow.
Southern Midwest and TX
Larger, stockier, head is dark blue (no crest), large pointed bill, very short tail.
Larger, glossy dark purple-blue body (male entirely bluish-black), forked tail.
Many areas except NW and parts of SW and intermountain W
Larger, stockier, crest. Head is darker blue. In some areas they have white streaks on faces.
More slender, shorter bill, longer wings, iridescent, shiny blue-green upperparts, snowy white underparts. Tail is the same color as back and slightly forked.
Small thick bill. Looks dark, but in perfect light may look blue. Purple-blue with red wash on throat, breast and back. Nape and eye-rings are red. Wings and tail are purple blue. Female dull tan.
AZ, NM, TX
Larger, pale gray underparts. Dark-streaked white throat bordered by dark blu e necklace. Interior race has a much paler necklace that is hardly noticeable, throat is more pale and barely shows streaks. Long tail.
References and More Information:
What Bird - Bird ID tool by color, size, location, etc. - go to the bottom left (Click to Browse Birds by....)
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