Some of the most intriguing birds in the world are blue. Various types of blue birds come in different sizes from just 2 inches to 20 or more inches.
Spread across the world, these birds are also found in North America either as permanent species or as migratory species.
Much of the lives of these birds are impacted by their diet and breeding habits. They can move along different types of territories looking for insects, larvae, and even fish.
Various species of blue birds migrate to tropical areas for overwintering. This even includes small birds such as warblers.
Some of the following types of blue birds are found in North America and Central America, an ideal overwintering spot.
Others live in South America, Asia, Africa, Australia, and elsewhere around the world. Mostly stable populations that aren’t threatened are mostly specific to these species which may be spotted across different types of terrains.
Table of Contents
1. Blue Jay
Scientific name: Cyanocitta cristata
Blue Jays are among the typical blue birds of North America. Found around woodlands, these types of birds are dominated by light and dark blue coloring.
A mostly light blue color with a light blue crest is specific to this small bird. While a common blue bird, The Blue Jay is also characterized by a white chest area.
Mixed woodlands and coniferous woodlands are among the areas this species lives in. Apart from offering a contrasting appearance in these habitats, Blue Jays are also known for their mimicry vocalizations.
These small birds may even learn to mimic human voices as well as the calls of various other birds in their habitat.
Distribution: Southern Canada, Central, and Eastern United States
2. Eastern Bluebird
Scientific name: Sialia sialis
Eastern Bluebirds are named after their North American range. These small blue birds grow to a maximum size of just over 8 inches and can be found from The Gulf of Mexico to Southern Canadian territories.
A mostly blue appearance is specific to these birds, with some differences between males and females.
It’s male Eastern Bluebirds that have vivid blue coloring and a blue crest while females have faded coloring, including on the red-brown breast.
Active in almost all Eastern US states, these birds are routinely seen feeding on insects.
Unlike Blue Jays, Eastern Bluebirds are fans of vast open areas.
Distribution: Southern Canada, Eastern United States
3. California Scrub-Jay
Scientific name: Aphelocoma californica
A species that has been re-categorized a few times over the past few years, The California Scrub-Jay is among the typical blue birds of the Southeast.
This bird grows larger than other common blue species as it can measure more than 12 inches from head to tail.
A light blue or a dark blue color is specific to the bird, even on its head. Its breasts are white, off-white, or gray.
The coloring of the species is also influenced by their age. More vivid blue coloring and wider blue areas are seen on these birds as they grow as opposed to their early days.
It’s expected for an older California Scrub-Jay of the age of 6 or more to have the deepest blue color.
Distribution: California, Baja California
4. Common Grackle
Scientific name: Quiscalus quiscula
The Common Grackle is one of the common blue birds that doesn’t have white breast. It has a dark blue chest, a blue head, and dark brown or brown-gray wings.
As one of the oldest blue birds in North America, Common Grackle is also present in inhabited areas, apart from woodlands.
These small blue birds are seen as pests on crops, farms, and gardens.
An aggressive feeding pattern and a fondness for grains are what may make Common Grackle known bird pests spreading to almost all of North America except The East Coast.
Apart from crops and farms, these birds can also be heard calling in woodlands where they live to mimic the call of other birds.
Distribution: Eastern US, Eastern Canada
5. Western Bluebird
Scientific name: Sialia mexicana
A species that lives in woodlands, The Western Bluebird is a small to medium-sized blue bird in North America.
It grows to a maximum size of just over 7 inches and it shows a preference towards the warmer forested areas of the Southwest up to Western Texas and into Northwestern Mexico.
While both male and female Western Bluebirds are blue, the color depth is different between the sexes.
Males have a blue color with a blue head and neck while their chest is brown. Females show similar coloring but with faded blue and faded brown or orange breast coloring.
This species can be seen looking for food such as berries in woodlands.
It’s here that its mating calls can also be heard. These calls serve as guidance to attract females who can’t see males in dense woodlands.
Distribution: Southwestern and Southern US
6. Little Blue Heron
Scientific name: Egretta caerulea
One of the most important fish-eating blue birds by numbers is The Little Blue Heron.
This is a species that lives in a widespread habitat from the Eastern parts of The US to South America.
A blue body is specific to this species which is believed to be migratory, at least partially.
Some of the factors that influence Little Blue Herron migration include scarce food and abrupt weather changes.
The Little Blue Heron can often migrate South for warmth.
This bird can be seen on the water, looking for fish. It generally lives alone or in small groups, unlike many other fish-eating birds.
Distribution: North America, South America
7. Tree Swallow
Scientific name: Tachycineta bicolor
The Tree Swallow is one of the smaller blue birds that has 3 types of songs that may be heard during different activities such as when looking for a mate or when making a nest.
Male Tree Swallows are more likely to have blue bodies and blue wings. The breast is typically white.
Females may appear gray at first and slowly turn brown or brown and white as they mature.
Tree Swallows are at least partially migratory.
Populations in the Northern parts of North America are the most likely to migrate. Some of the preferred migration destinations include states around The Gulf of Mexico as well as Mexico.
Distribution: North America, Central America
8. Steller’s Jay
Scientific name: Cyanocitta stelleri
A North American native, Steller’s Jay is a common blue bird with long feathers on its head.
Some of the regions where it lives are also known to show different blue nuances. Steller’s Jay mostly lives in the Western parts of North America.
Its Western limit is the Coast while its Eastern limit is represented by the Eastern side of The Rockies.
This species is believed to have blue or blue and black coloring on its head when it comes to its Westernmost species while those in the East have bright blue heads.
There are many areas Steller’s Jay can live in. Mostly, its habitat is influenced by the presence of various seeds or other palatable food such as bird eggs.
These can be eggs of its species or the eggs of other species.
Distribution: Western North America
9. Indigo Bunting
Scientific name: Passerina cyanea
Indigo Bunting is one of the small birds of North America that change colors. It’s the males that become blue during the mating season.
This plumage color adaptation is believed to be one of the ways the male seeks out the attention of the female.
The female Indigo Bunting cannot change colors and lives most of its days in a brown and light brown or gray color combination.
A small size means the migration process of the species might expose it to certain dangers.
This is why many groups of Indigo Bunting prefer to migrate at night when there’s less of a risk of being spotted.
Distribution: North America, South America
10. Red-breasted Nuthatch
Scientific name: Sitta canadensis
The Red-breasted Nuthatch is one of the most widespread birds in North America. It has permanent populations in regions of the Northern US, Canada, and Alaska.
Its numbers start to diminish in Southern states but The Red-breasted Nuthatch has been confirmed in states such as Florida.
Much of the life of this small blue bird is spent on trees. Coniferous trees in coniferous woodlands are preferred by the bird.
This agile species can walk and it can move both up and down tree trunks, mainly looking for food.
Nesting habits resemble dietary habits as The Red-breasted nuthatch builds nests on trees.
Most populations of this species never migrate, being fully adapted to cooler habitats on the continent.
Distribution: North America
11. Boat-tailed Grackle
Scientific name: Quiscalus major
High color variation is seen between the male and the female Boat-tailed Grackle.
This is a species with a dark blue coloring only in the case of males. A combination of dark metallic blue nuances with black plumage is specific to the male Boat-tailed Grackle.
A long black tail and a sharp black head and beak are also specific to the male Boat-tailed Grackle.
The female is mostly characterized by brown coloring with dark brown wings.
A warmth-loving species, The Boat-tailed Gracko is mostly spotted around brackish water in continental Florida.
The mating habits of the species can be elusive as the female prefers to build nests out of sight.
Distribution: Southeastern US
12. Purple Martin
Scientific name: Progne subis
Despite its name, The Purple Martin isn’t purple. This is a species with a dark blue to black appearance, in the case of male birds.
This dark appearance is also backed by a black beak and dark brown legs.
Females have brighter plumage and may not exhibit any blue areas at all. Some adult females may only show a dark blue spot on the head and the base of the wings.
Most of the female’s coloring is attributed to dark brown and bright brown breast appearance.
A migratory species, Purple Martin prefers an area between Central-Southern United States and Central-Southern South America.
The habitat of the species is wider, however. It has even been spotted in Canada’s Northern parts as well as around Southern states of South America.
Distribution: North America, South America
13. Blue Grosbeak
Scientific name: Passerina caerulea
The small size is specific to The Blue Grosbeak, a species that has vivid blue coloring.
Reaching a size of up to 6 inches, Blue Grosbeaks have a different appearance based on their sexes. Males are mostly blue.
Rich blue-purple is specific to males which have black circles around the eyes and orange or brown sections across their base blue wings.
Not all Blue Grosbeaks males are blue. Young males are brown or chestnut, slowly becoming blue as they age.
Female Blue Grosbeaks have a completely different appearance, mostly chestnut or bright brown.
The species is migratory and often makes it into the US from Central America.
Distribution: Southern US states, Central America
14. Mountain Bluebird
Scientific name: Sialia currucoides
An almost completely blue appearance is specific to the male Mountain Bluebird. This species has vivid blue coloring with yellow sections around its tail.
Even the breast of males is blue while the breast of females is yellow or white.
Found across North America, this bird species lives in wide spaces up to Alaska.
It lives through the winter, adapting its diet to the seasons. Insects found in the summer are the bulk of its diet while the remaining seeds and dried fruit are picked up by these birds in the winter.
These types of birds know how to build nests to escape cold weather. They use existing cavities for nesting.
Distribution: North America, Central America
15. Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay
Scientific name: Aphelocoma woodhouseii
A species comparable to California Scrub Jay, Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay also has mostly blue plumage.
A dark blue chest with even darker blue wings is specific to this species which may reach a minimum size of 11 inches in adulthood.
Found around juniper woodlands, this type of blue bird is characteristic of various Southwestern regions including California, Nevada, and New Mexico.
These birds are known for their sharp call and their habit of hiding food.
Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay is also a long-living species, surviving almost a full decade.
Distribution: California, Mexico
16. Lazuli Bunting
Scientific name: Passerina amoena
A species growing to an average of 6 inches, Lazuli Bunting is among the birds with distinguishable coloring between males and females.
The species shows a bright blue head and a white chest in the case of the multicolored males.
Its populations across North America are mostly non-migratory, but there are still plenty of migrating Lazuli Buntings.
This species is primarily found in the Western territories of North America.
Apart from its migratory habits, it also shows distinct characteristics such as having a vociferous call that’s also repetitive.
Distribution: Western North America, Mexico
17. Purple Gallinule
Scientific name: Porphyrio martinica
Base blue color is specific to one of the agile birds of North and South America, The Purple Gallinule.
This is a species with adapted legs for grabbing vegetation and walking from different aquatic plants.
A dark and light blue head with a red beak is specific to this species.
Its chest also has a dark blue color with a metallic hue.
The wings of the species are green or green-to-blue. The legs of this species have a contrasting yellow appearance.
A species mostly seen in aquatic areas, this type of blue bird is among the adapted species to living on marshes and water covered in aquatic vegetation.
Distribution: The Americas
18. Mexican Jay
Scientific name: Aphelocoma wollweberi
Mexican Jay birds are found in the extreme US South as well as in Mexico.
This is a species known for its various shades of blue and gray. Its beak can be blue or black as well.
The chest of the species is off-white.
Female Mexican Jays have a brighter appearance.
Pine woodlands are among the areas these types of birds live in. They can feed on various acorns and white pine nuts.
Mexican Jays are native to The Sierra Madre where they overwinter.
Distribution: New Mexico, Texas, Mexico
19. Florida Scrub-Jay
Scientific name: Aphelocoma coerulescens
Named after its Florida scrub habitat, this bird species has a bright blue color with a contrasting white chest.
The bird is larger than other blue birds with white chests. It also has an omnivorous diet.
Its diet even includes juvenile snakes and small rodents.
Florida Scrub-Jays have different coloring as they grow. From an initial brown color specific to juveniles, these birds eventually become blue.
Sometimes absent from its native areas, The Florida Scrub-Jay is among the species of blue birds that can also live next to humans in inhabited areas.
20. Gray-headed Swamphen
Scientific name: Porphyrio poliocephalus
Gray-headed Swamphens are named after their appearance and their habitat.
These birds have a dark blue appearance with a bright blue chest, a gray head or a gray top of the head, and a red beak.
The legs of the species are also red.
Both males and females exhibit dark blue coloration.
Only living around swamps, The Gray-headed Swamphen has an introduced status on the continent.
They were only raised in captivity and are believed to have accidentally established their presence in the wilderness.
Gray-headed Swamphen has an Asian origin.
21. Pinyon Jay
Scientific name: Gymnorhinus cyanocephalus
A blue dominant species, The Pinyon Jay is also known as the blue crow.
Named after its native pinyon areas, this species lives in Oregon, California, or New Mexico.
It can be found around pine woodlands or open areas with just a few pines it feeds on. The Colorado Pinyon is among the first types of trees it feeds on.
The small blue bird eats the seeds of pinyon, which are believed to be rich in nutrients and sufficient to sustain the life of The Pinyon Jay.
The second part of the summer is the best time to spot these types of birds eating pinyon seeds.
Distribution: Southwestern US
22. Varied Bunting
Scientific name: Passerina versicolor
A multicolored species, Varied Bunting also shows coloring differences between the sexes.
It’s only the male bird that boats blue coloring as females are dominated by brown and gray colors.
This is a species that has mostly dark blue males with red sections on the central part of the head as well as on the chest.
A gray color is also specific to the beak of the species.
Given its base color is dark blue, this type of bird may appear black at first. Some of the brightest blue areas of the species include the tail and the base of the wings.
Distribution: Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and Mexico
23. Island Scrub-Jay
Scientific name: Aphelocoma insularis
A dark blue head and a white chest are specific to the Island Scrub-Jay.
A constant presence on the islands around California, The Island Scrub-Jay this bird is a type of crow.
This also means it has a varied diet based on seeds, insects, spiders, lizards, and mice.
The species can even feed on old seeds and acorns and it has a constant presence in the warm climate around California.
Its presence is now only confirmed on Santa Cruz Island, with the risk of becoming extinct.
Both male and female Island Scrub-Jays stand out with the capacity of building nests.
24. Tropical Parula
Scientific name: Setophaga pitiayumi
A gray-to-blue color is specific to The Tropical Parula. This form of rare gray nuance is contrasted by white bands on its wings.
The chest of the species is yellow both in the case of males and in the case of females.
Smaller coloring differences help differentiate the sexes as males have an upper black beak with a black stripe on its head.
The species sometimes reaches Mexico for its breeding season while most of its range where it lives throughout the year includes regions of Brazil, Bolivia, and Paraguay.
Distribution: The Americas
25. Black-throated Magpie-Jay
Scientific name: Calocitta colliei
The light blue and dark blue coloring is specific to The Black-throated Magpie-Jay.
A dark blue and white mask is specific to this species while most of its plumage is dominated by light blue and white coloring.
The chest of the species has pure white coloring.
A type of crow, the Black-throated Magpie-Jay is mostly found in various regions of Mexico.
They live in open areas of woodlands where they feed on seeds, fruits, and insects.
While a type of crow, this species looks similar to parrots and even sounds similar to parrots.
26. Shiny Cowbird
Scientific name: Molothrus bonariensis
A parasitic species, Shiny Cowbirds are known to lay eggs in nests of other birds.
They invade nests and establish their eggs after mating. The females of the species are identified by their brown color when invading nests.
It’s the male Shiny Cowbird that has a dark blue color that almost appears black. A morph of this species has black coloring with blue wings and purple body undertones.
The chest of the male is also typically dark blue.
Distribution: South America
27. Red-faced Cormorant
Scientific name: Urile urile
The Red-faced Cormorant is one of the lesser-known blue birds of the world. It has a dark appearance with dark green-blue plumage and a migratory behavior between Alaska and East Asia.
Birds of this species have black wings and a dark blue-green body. They also exhibit a dark green-blue neck and head. There’s a red facemask on the species which shows a yellow-orange beak as well.
With a wingspan of up to 11 inches, The Red-faced Cormorant is currently a monitored species due to its unknown living habits and possible low populations across the world.
Distribution: Alaska, Japan
28. Blue-and-yellow Macaw
Scientific name: Ara ararauna
One of the most popular types of blue birds is the Blue-and-yellow Macaw.
As its name suggests, this is a species mostly characterized by a contrasting blue and yellow color combination.
The wings of the species are mostly bright blue while its head shows a combination of blue and green with a white and black mask.
Some of the main regions of the world for the Blue-and-yellow Macaw include parts of Northern South America except Paraguay as well as remote parts of Central America.
This is also one of the longest-living types of blue birds which can survive decades.
Distribution: South America, Central America
29. Blue Bunting
Scientific name: Cyanocompsa parellina
A dominating blue color is specific to The Blue Bunting. Growing to an average of 5 inches, The Blue Bunting is among the species with a light blue chest and head and dark blue wings.
Its beak is black, as is its face mask.
Most types of Blue Buntings are spotted on the Western and Eastern Coasts of Mexico. Some populations are seen in remote areas of Central America.
Also known for their distinctive call, Blue Buntings are often known as The Crying Birds due to their calls which resemble crying sounds.
Distribution: Mexico, Guatemala
30. Mexican Violetear
Scientific name: Colibri thalassinus
The Mexican Violetear is a native species in Mexico with occasional sights North in Texas and South in Nicaragua.
It only breeds in Mexico but it may sometimes be spotted in the lower parts of Texas.
This species has a combination of dark green and blue colors, both with a metallic hint.
Mexican Violetars have a dark blue band behind its head and on its chest. However, metallic green coloring dominates its plumage and its wings.
This species is also known for its long and curved black beak.
Some males might exhibit blue stripes that continue from the back of their heads to the eyes.
A species that grows to a maximum size of around 5 inches, this small bird uses quick flights as an escape method from its predators.
It also chooses remote areas for breeding, mainly at a higher elevation.
Distribution: Mexico, Texas
31. Red-legged Honeycreeper
Scientific name: Cyanerpes cyaneus
South and Central America are some of the key areas where The Red-legged Honeycreeper lives.
It inhabits vast areas of Brazil with Panama being one of the countries with its Northern range limit.
This species also lives in remote populations on Brazil’s Atlantic Coast.
The main blue color is specific to the male Red-legged Honeycreeper. Males have light blue heads and black wings while their legs have a contrasting red appearance.
Female Red-legged Honeycreepers have a completely different appearance. They have a base green color with black stripes on the wings and a long curved black beak.
Females of the species lack the common blue color also seen on males as well as the vivid red color of the legs as their legs are gray-brown.
These color differences between males and females are seen across the multiple Red-legged Honeycreeper subspecies.
Distribution: Brazil, Panama, Venezuela
32. Northern Parula
Scientific name: Setophaga americana
Blue plumage is seen on the head and wings of the male Northern Parula. Males of this species have a yellow chest which also shows a band during their young days.
Both the head and the body of the species can also be blue on some areas of expansive habitat, including parts of its beak.
The species has widespread habitat from Canada to Nicaragua.
It has a long flight season with high breeding activity and the early season start in March in its Northern range.
A diverse diet is specific to The Northern Parula.
The species can even be seen eating small fruits such as berries.
Its fast flight and tendency to live in groups may also make it detrimental to crops. As a generalist feeding and migrating species, Northern Parulas may settle on various crops.
Distribution: North America, Central America, West Indies
33. Belted Kingfisher
Scientific name: Megaceryle alcyon
While somewhat different, the male Belter Kingfisher is also similar to the female. A brown chest band on females is among the few noticeable differences between the sexes of this species.
A blue head is specific both to males and females.
These birds further exhibit contrasting white chests.
Birds of this species are well-adapted to the Northern territories of North America and Canada.
It also ventures Southwards and into Central America, but it doesn’t breed here.
This type of bird is known for its capacity to catch fish. This is why it prefers riparian areas with tall trees.
It uses a high vantage point to locate fish which it dives head first for.
Most of its life is spent near beaches. This is also one of the reasons The Belted Kingfisher also nests in the sand.
Distribution: North America
34. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Scientific name: Polioptila caerulea
A species commonly found in woodlands and sandy areas, The Blue-gray Gnatcatcher is a species found all across North America and in Mexico.
It has a gray-blue color which is specific to both males and females but which may not be specific to young birds of the species.
These small birds are agile fliers. Most of their lives are spent up on trees and the ground.
They can fly rapidly to catch flying insects but these types of birds are also known to eat tree-dwelling spiders.
Found across California’s woodlands and sandy terrains, these types of birds have a complex breeding mechanism.
Unlike other species, both males and females take a turn in feeding their young in the nest. They continue doing so for a few days up until their young birds can start learning how to fly.
Distribution: North America, Central America
35. Black-throated Blue Warbler
Scientific name: Setophaga caerulescens
Blue, black, and white are the main colors of the Black-throated Blue Warbler.
The male bird has a blue head and blue wings. Females of the species have a chestnut-gray color with a darker chest. They also lack blue colors specific to males.
Northeastern parts of North America are specific to The Black-throated Blue Warbler.
This is a species that can migrate long distances as it has been found in tropical scrub for overwintering.
Some of the ideal places for the bird include the Northeastern deciduous and even coniferous woodlands of North America.
A common sight in parks, this species may also hide in inhabited areas.
Finding a good nesting site is a priority for the species. A normal nesting site is up on trees.
Deciduous and coniferous trees are the chosen location to build a nest.
Distribution: North America, West Indies
36. Cerulean Warbler
Scientific name: Setophaga cerulea
A type of blue bird in North, Central, and South America, Cerulean Warblers are another type of species with a coloring difference between males and females.
The male bird has a dark blue color with a light blue and white chest. Its wings are dark blue with black streaks.
The head of the species is mostly dark blue and black.
Females have a gray and chestnut color with a white chest.
Known to migrate, these types of birds move into tropical climates for overwintering.
While changing depending on the season, the diet of these birds is comprised of various insects found on trees and in woodlands.
This bird prefers not to fly far away for food.
It moves up trees, jumping from one branch to another for small insects living on trees.
Its beneficial role in the ecosystem is mostly tied to its capacity to eat scale insects. While not the smallest birds in America, Cerulean Warblers prefer to eat insect larvae.
Distribution: The Americas