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The Top 10 Blue Birds in Alabama (With Pics)

Dive into the mesmerizing world of Alabama’s blue birds, where sapphire wings flutter and cerulean songs echo. From the vibrant hues of the Eastern Bluebird to the subtle elegance of the Little Blue Heron, Alabama’s skies and trees are adorned with these avian gems. Discover a palette of blue-tinted wonders in this comprehensive guide!

1. Eastern Bluebird

Eastern Bluebird
  • Scientific Name: Sialia sialis
  • Size: 16-21 cm (6.5-8.3 in) in length
  • Wingspan: 27-34 cm (10.6-13.4 in)
  • Conservation Status: Least Concern (LC)
  • Observation Period: Year-round

The Eastern Bluebird is an iconic and common sight across Alabama’s open woodlands, farmlands, and orchards. With its vivid blue back contrasting against a rust or brick-red throat and chest, it’s unmistakable and a delight for birdwatchers. Known for its gentle nature, the bird has a melodious song that adds charm to its surroundings.

As foragers, they primarily dine on insects, berries, and other small fruits. These birds are cavity nesters, often seeking out old woodpecker holes or man-made nest boxes. Their propensity for using nest boxes has benefited their populations in areas where habitat destruction might have impacted them.

Did you know? The Eastern Bluebird is the state bird of Missouri and New York!

2. Indigo Bunting

Indigo Bunting
  • Scientific Name: Passerina cyanea
  • Size: 11.5-13 cm (4.5-5.1 in) in length
  • Wingspan: 18-22 cm (7.1-8.7 in)
  • Conservation Status: Least Concern (LC)
  • Observation Period: Spring to early Fall (migration peak in May)

Vibrant and eye-catching, the male Indigo Bunting shines in a brilliant blue hue, especially in the breeding season, while females wear a subtler brown attire. Commonly spotted in Alabama during the breeding months, these birds are often observed singing melodiously from exposed perches.

Apart from their appearance, their diet adds to their appeal; it’s a mix of seeds, berries, and insects. While they grace gardens and meadows, their breeding habitat of choice is brushy forest edges, making Alabama’s varied terrain suitable for them.

Did you know? Indigo Buntings have no blue pigments in their feathers. Instead, their brilliant blue color is a result of the way the structure of their feathers refracts light.

3. Blue Grosbeak

Blue Grosbeak
  • Scientific Name: Passerina caerulea
  • Size: 14-18 cm (5.5-7.1 in) in length
  • Wingspan: 26-29 cm (10.2-11.4 in)
  • Conservation Status: Least Concern (LC)
  • Observation Period: Late Spring to early Fall

The Blue Grosbeak, draped in rich blue with a deep bill, is nothing short of magnificent. While the male boasts a vibrant blue shade, females are more muted, with a cinnamon-brown hue. These birds have a penchant for brushy habitats and open woodlands. Their diet is varied, including both insects and grains.

Interestingly, their blue shade is not just for aesthetics, as it plays a role during breeding. Males with a brighter blue hue tend to have better breeding sites, higher food availability, and improved reproductive success.

Did you know? Blue Grosbeaks migrate at night, and during migration, they often sing while in flight!

4. Blue Jay

Blue Jay
  • Scientific Name: Cyanocitta cristata
  • Size: 22-30 cm (9-12 in) in length
  • Wingspan: 34-43 cm (13-17 in)
  • Conservation Status: Least Concern (LC)
  • Observation Period: Year-round

As one of the most recognizable birds, Blue Jays, with their bold blue, white, and black plumage, and an expressive crest, are the noisy custodians of many an American backyard. These birds are resourceful, often seen caching food like acorns for leaner times.

Their diet is omnivorous, with an inclination towards nuts, seeds, fruits, small vertebrates, and insects. In Alabama, they’re residents of forests, urban parks, and suburban areas. Their vocal nature, combined with their striking appearance, ensures they’re seldom unnoticed.

Did you know? Blue Jays are known to mimic the calls of hawks, possibly to inform other jays of the presence of a hawk or to deceive other species into believing a hawk is present.

5. Belted Kingfisher

Belted Kingfisher
  • Scientific Name: Megaceryle alcyon
  • Size: 28-35 cm (11-14 in) in length
  • Wingspan: 48-58 cm (19-23 in)
  • Conservation Status: Least Concern (LC)
  • Observation Period: Year-round (although more widespread in Spring and Summer)

Often spotted along Alabama’s waterways, the Belted Kingfisher, with its dark blue-gray plumage and tufted crest, is a sight to behold. They’re solitary birds, often seen hovering above water before diving in headfirst to catch fish – their primary diet.

The bird’s unique appearance, combined with its distinct rattling call, makes it easy to identify. Their nesting habits are as unique as their fishing style; they dig burrows in sandy banks, often close to water, ensuring safety and proximity to food.

Did you know? Female Belted Kingfishers are more brightly colored than males, which is the opposite of most bird species!

6. Tree Swallow

Tree Swallow
  • Scientific Name: Tachycineta bicolor
  • Size: 12-14 cm (4.7-5.5 in) in length
  • Wingspan: 29-33 cm (11-13 in)
  • Conservation Status: Least Concern (LC)
  • Observation Period: Late winter to early spring and fall

Characterized by iridescent blue-green upperparts and white underparts, the Tree Swallow’s aerial acrobatics while hunting flying insects are a spectacle. Their glossy coats gleam in the sun, making them easy to spot.

Found throughout Alabama, they’re known to gather in large flocks during migration. These birds exhibit a strong affinity towards nesting in cavities, making them regular occupants of nest boxes provided by human admirers.

While Tree Swallows primarily breed further north, they pass through Alabama during their migration. Late winter to early spring is their northward migration, and they are seen again in fall during the southward journey.

Did you know? Despite their small size, Tree Swallows have been known to migrate thousands of miles between their breeding and wintering grounds!

7. Barn Swallow

Barn Swallow
  • Scientific Name: Hirundo rustica
  • Size: 15-19 cm (5.9-7.5 in) in length
  • Wingspan: 31-34 cm (12-13 in)
  • Conservation Status: Least Concern (LC)
  • Observation Period: Spring to early fall

The Barn Swallow’s graceful flight, with its steely blue upper body and deeply forked tail, exemplifies beauty in motion. As insectivores, they can be seen darting over fields or water, catching their meals mid-flight.

Their nests, made of mud pellets, are often built on human-made structures, bridging the world of birds and humans. These swallows migrate thousands of miles between North America and South America, which shows their resilience and adaptability.

Barn Swallows are summer residents in Alabama. They typically arrive in the spring, breed throughout the summer, and depart by early fall to head to their wintering grounds.

Did you know? Barn Swallows are known for their long tail streamers, which are longer in males and are a sign of good genetic health.

8. Purple Martin

Purple Martin
  • Scientific Name: Progne subis
  • Size: 19-20 cm (7.5-7.9 in) in length
  • Wingspan: 41-42 cm (16-16.5 in)
  • Conservation Status: Least Concern (LC)
  • Observation Period: Late winter to late summer

As the largest North American swallow, Purple Martins stand out with their dark blue, almost purple sheen. Primarily insectivores, their swift flights catching insects mid-air is a captivating dance. In the eastern US, including Alabama, they largely depend on man-made structures for nesting.

Their communal roosting, often in the thousands, is a mesmerizing sight, and their melodic chattering at dawn and dusk adds to the ambiance. Purple Martins typically arrive in Alabama by late winter or early spring. They spend the summer months breeding and raising their young and begin their migration to their wintering grounds by late summer.

Did you know? Many people in the eastern US put up martin houses to attract these lovely birds as they are known to eat a massive amount of insects, including mosquitoes!

9. Little Blue Heron

Little Blue Heron
  • Scientific Name: Egretta caerulea
  • Size: 60-68 cm (24-27 in) in length
  • Wingspan: 102 cm (40 in)
  • Conservation Status: Least Concern (LC)
  • Observation Period: Spring to early fall

The Little Blue Heron, distinguished by its slate-blue plumage as an adult, is a captivating sight against the wetlands of Alabama. As juveniles, they start with a completely white plumage, which can often lead to confusion with other herons. However, they undergo a unique transformation as they mature, gradually acquiring blue feathers.

This bird primarily feeds on small fish, crustaceans, and a variety of aquatic insects. Stalking its prey quietly in shallow waters, it’s known for its patience and precision. It can be found across freshwater and saltwater habitats, including ponds, marshes, and the shores of rivers and lakes.

Did you know? During their transition from the white juvenile stage to the blue adult stage, Little Blue Herons go through a piebald phase where they display a mix of white and blue feathers, making them look quite unique and easily distinguishable from other herons during this period.

10. Blue-Headed Vireo

Blue-Headed Vireo
  • Scientific Name: Vireo solitarius
  • Size: 12-14 cm (4.7-5.5 in) in length
  • Wingspan: 20-24 cm (7.9-9.4 in)
  • Conservation Status: Least Concern (LC)
  • Observation Period: Fall through spring

This songbird, with its blue-gray head contrasted by striking white spectacles around its eyes, brings elegance to Alabama’s woodlands. Their slow, melodic song is a joy to hear during a hike or a quiet afternoon in the woods.

Their primary diet consists of insects and spiders, which they deftly pick off from leaves. Their meticulous nature is also seen in their nest-building, where they often use spider webs for construction.

In Alabama, the Blue-Headed Vireo is primarily a winter visitor. They usually arrive in the fall and stay through the spring before departing for their northern breeding grounds.

Did you know? The song of the Blue-headed Vireo is slow and melodic, often likened to a “question and answer” pattern!

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