Blue isn’t too common of a color among birds (or mammals, for that matter), so there aren’t too many small blue birds out there. However, there are a few species that most definitely befall in this category.
In this article, we’ll be listing down thirteen small blue birds that you might just find in your backyard:
- Black-throated Blue Warbler
- Blue Grosbeak
- Steller’s Jay
- Cerulean Warbler
- Western Bluebird
- Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay
- California Scrub-Jay
- Lazuli Bunting
- Mountain Bluebird
- Eastern Bluebird
- Indigo Bunting
- Blue Jay
- Tree Swallow
1. Black-throated Blue Warbler
- Length: about 5 inches (13 cm)
- Weight: 0.3-0.44 ounces (8.4-12.4 grams)
Scientific name: Setophaga caerulescens
This warbler has a very characteristic note of dark, metallic blue over the head, the back, and the wings. The face is black, and the belly is entirely white.
Sexual dimorphism is extreme with these birds – females look nothing like the males. They’re almost uniform gray and olive green. Because of this stark difference, they were initially described as two different species.
You can find these birds all along the East Coast, parts of southeastern Canada, Cuba, the Caribbean Islands, and Mexico. There, they mostly live in forests where they feed on insects and nest in shrubs.
These small blue birds don’t grow past 5 inches in length, with a wingspan of no more than 8 inches.
Black-throated blue warblers are very useful animals to have around, as they feed on insects, caterpillars, spiders, and flies.
2. Blue Grosbeak
- Length: 5.5-7.5 inches (14-19 cm)
- Weight: 0.92-1.11 ounces (26-32 grams)
Scientific name: Passerina caerulea
Adult male blue grosbeaks are entirely blue – there are usually a few orange lines on their wings, along with some black stripes, but aside from that, blue grosbeaks are distinctly blue.
Females are nothing similar to males, though, as they’re mostly brown.
You can find these tiny blue birds in the southern half of the United States, all of Mexico, and parts of Central America. There, they usually live in open woodlands, as well as overgrown fields, hedgerows, and thickets.
They’re omnivorous, feeding on insects, but also snails and fruits. Blue grosbeaks are ground foragers, sticking to the ground rather than looking for their food up in the trees.
You can attract these birds to your yard with bird feeders if you fill them with seeds. However, they tend to stay away from open backyards, so you’ll have more luck if you have some shrubbery and trees in your yard.
3. Steller’s Jay
- Length: 12-13 inches (30-34 cm)
- Weight: 3.5-4.9 ounces (100-140 grams)
Scientific name: Cyanocitta stelleri
Found on the Canadian West Coast, the northern half of the US West Coast, all the way through to Mexico, Steller’s jays are strikingly blue. Tail and wing feathers are blue with a metallic shine, while the stomach is a bit lighter blue.
The rest of the body is entirely black, and another defining characteristic is the mohawk.
In Central America, however, Steller’s jays are entirely blue and they have no mohawk, proving that there’s great variation depending on the region.
While they’re still smaller blue birds, they’re fairly large for their category, growing up to 12 inches in size.
They prefer forests as their primary habitat and are rarely found in open areas. It’s possible to find them in agricultural fields and residential areas if there’s a forest nearby.
They mostly feed on plant matter and insects, but there are reports of them eating snakes and lizards.
4. Cerulean Warbler
- Length: about 4.3 inches (11 cm)
- Weight: 0.28-0.35 ounces (8-10 grams)
Scientific name: Setophaga cerulea
These warblers have a somewhat limited range in comparison to the black-throated blue warblers.
They can be found anywhere from the northeastern USA-Canada border, all along the East Coast (except Florida), down to Texas, the eastern coast of Mexico, into Central America, and the northern coast of South America.
They’re some of the smallest warblers, growing no larger than 4.3 inches, with a wingspan of up to 8 inches.
Males and females are strongly sexually dysmorphic. Males are almost entirely blue with a few black and white streaks (mostly on the wings and the tail) and a white belly.
Females, on the other hand, are entirely green with a few black streaks on the wings and a lighter shade of green on the belly.
These miniature blue birds are canopy foragers, hopping from one branch to the other as they look for food.
5. Western Bluebird
- Length: 5.9-7.1 inches (15-18 cm)
- Weight: about 0.9 ounces (26 grams)
Scientific name: Sialia mexicana
Located in Mexico and the United States (Texas, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Washington, and Oregon), the western bluebird has distinctly blue wings, neck, and head.
The chest and part of the belly are copper, with the bottom of the belly being gray.
Females have the same belly coloration, but the back, wings, and neck are completely gray. They’re also noticeably smaller than most males.
They might be some of the easiest birds to attract to your yard out of all birds on this list as they mainly feed on insects. They catch their food in the air, not by foraging, so you can attract them to a bird feeder with mealworms.
In the wild, they live in woodlands where they nest in holes in the trees. Since their beaks aren’t made for drilling, they nest in holes pre-drilled by woodpeckers.
6. Woodhouse’s Scrub-jay
- Length: 11-12 inches (27-31 cm)
- Weight: about 2.8 ounces (80 grams)
Scientific name: Aphelocoma woodhouseii
The species with one of the most limited ranges out of all petite blue birds, Woodhouse’s scrub-jay is found in Central Mexico, Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, and Colorado.
They’re somewhat rarer in Mexico and Texas than in other places.
The males are almost entirely blue, with the belly being a very pale shade of blue along with the neck. The head, back, wings, and tail are all a distinct, intense shade of blue.
They mostly live in scrubs, nesting in trees and feeding on small vertebrates, insects, grains, nuts, and berries. When foraging, they often find more food than they need, so they create caches of food that they return to later in the winter.
This makes them one of the very few animal species that plan ahead for the future (alongside humans, dolphins, and primates), showcasing their intelligence.
7. California Scrub-jay
- Length: 11-12 inches (17-31 cm)
- Weight: about 2.8 ounces (80 grams)
Scientific name: Aphelocoma californica
Woodhouse’s scrub-jay was often confused for California scrub-jay, and for obvious reasons – the males are very similar! California scrub-jays are almost identical, but their light-colored belly and back are much more lightly colored.
The belly and back of Woodhouse’s scrub-jay are noticeably darker.
The territory of California scrub-jay is not connected to the territory of Woodhouse’s scrub-jay. They’re only found near the West Coast in the USA and Baja California and Baja California Sur states of Mexico.
There, you can find these mini blue birds in woodlands, parks, and in the suburbs, if there’s enough shrubbery and trees. They’re omnivores and easy to attract to a bird feeder with sunflower seeds and peanuts.
They’re fairly large for a small bird, capable of growing up to 12 inches, while their wingspan often exceeds their length.
8. Lazuli Bunting
- Length: 5.1-5.9 inches (13-15 cm)
- Weight: 0.5-0.6 ounces (13-18 grams)
Scientific name: Passerina amoena
You can find the lazuli bunting in the western half of Mexico and the United States, as well as a few territories in the southwest of Canada.
The male is easily recognizable with its distinctive bright blue head and the back, while the chest is orange and the belly is white or gray.
The wings have black and white strips atop the blue base color.
Females are absolutely nothing like the males – they’re entirely brown with some black stripes on their wings.
In the areas they inhabit, lazuli buntings are found in bushy areas, pastures, and forests. It’s possible to spot them in populated areas from time to time. They’re easily attracted to bird feeders filled with sunflower seeds and proso millet.
They mostly feed on seeds and insects, usually foraging for them on the ground.
9. Mountain Bluebird
- Length: 6.1-7.1 inches (15.5-18 cm)
- Weight: 0.85-1.31 ounces (24-37 grams)
Scientific name: Sialia currucoides
One of the most beautiful miniscule blue birds, mountain bluebirds are found everywhere from Alaska to Canada, the western half of the USA, and Mexico.
Males are very easy to recognize as they’re between 6 and 7 inches in length and they’re entirely blue. The bottom of their stomach, right above the legs, is a bit paler.
Although different, even the females have some blue on the tail and the wings. The rest of the female body is entirely gray, though.
In the wild, mountain bluebirds inhabit open woodlands, where they nest in tree cavities. They don’t drill their own nests, but inhabit pre-made nests or nest boxes set up by conservationists.
They feed on insects that they catch in the air. Sometimes, though, they’ll eat berries and fruit seeds (usually in the winter).
10. Eastern Bluebird
- Length: 6.3-8.3 inches (16-21 cm)
- Weight: 0.95-1.20 (27-34 grams)
Scientific name: Sialia sialis
As the name suggests, these birds are found in the eastern half of the United States and parts of southern and eastern Canada, as well as Central Mexico and parts of Central America.
Males have distinctly blue heads, backs, wings, and tails, while their chests are copper and their stomachs are almost entirely white. Wingtips are often black.
Females have the same chest, stomach, and tail, but the wings are mostly black and brown, while the back, neck, and head are entirely brown.
Just like their mountain cousins, they nest in cavities where they hunt for insects. There’s a major behavioral difference, though, as eastern bluebirds forage for insects on the ground and they inhabit grasslands and plains, not only forests.
While they don’t trust humans too much and stay away from feeders if possible, they’ll sometimes come to feeders with mealworms.
11. Indigo Bunting
- Length: 4.5-5.9 inches (11.5-15 cm)
- Weight: about 0.5 ounces (14 grams)
Scientific name: Passerina cyanea
Indigo buntings are some of the most widespread tiny blue birds, as they’re found all over the eastern half of the USA, the American Southwest, the southern half of Mexico, and Central America.
There, they inhabit open woodlands where they feed on insects that they forage up in the trees.
Males are almost entirely blue, aside from the wings, which are mostly black. The females are entirely brown, also with black wings. Both males and females grow up to 6 inches, while the wingspan is between 7 and 9 inches.
They’re easily attracted to feeders with thistles and live mealworms. In the wild, they eat insects, but also grass seeds (mostly during the winter).
Indigo buntings are important members of their respective environments as they provide prey to opossums, foxes, and larger birds.
12. Blue Jay
- Length: 9-12 inches (22-30 cm)
- Weight: 2.5-3.5 ounces (70-100 grams)
Scientific name: Cyanocitta cristata
Blue jays are about 10 inches long with a wingspan of up to 17 inches, and they’re possibly the most easily recognizable out of all small blue birds.
They have a small mohawk on top of their heads, and their entire body, aside from the belly and the face, is blue.
There’s a subtle black ring around their necks, while the belly and their faces are white. Their blue wings and tail are covered with black stripes.
While they’re omnivorous, three-quarters of their diet are vegetables – mostly corn, grains, seeds, and fruits. If available, they’ll also eat small insects and eggs of other animals, but this is relatively rare.
A lot of people dislike them because they’re noisy, but they’re actually very beneficial to other birds as they often chase predatory birds away. Their shrieking warns other animals of a predator nearby.
13. Tree Swallow
- Length: 4.7-5.5 inches (12-14 cm)
- Weight: 0.6-0.9 ounces (17-25.5 grams)
Scientific name: Tachycineta bicolor
Found all over North America (including the surrounding islands, but excluding the extremely cold northern parts of Canada), the tree swallow is our final entry to the list.
These birds display a unique combination of blue, black, and white. The belly and the neck are white, while the tail and wingtips are black. The back and the head are dark blue with a metallic glow.
Females are almost entirely black, aside from the white belly, and there’s a very little blue.
They can grow up to 5.5 inches and they have a wingspan of up to 14 inches.
Tree swallows forage in the trees, where they mostly feed on insects (which make up a vast majority of their diet), but they’ll eat fruits if they find any. Aside from fruits, they’ll sometimes eat berries and seeds.
The color blue found on birds is a structural color – the light reflects off of birds and the way the feathers are set up creates the blue color we see. The reason it’s usually seen on males but not on females is purely sexual – more attractive males have higher chances of breeding.
Blue jays are easily recognizable small blue birds, while the tree swallows are the most widespread blue birds. Among the other birds that are colored blue, there are warblers, jays, and the aptly-named bluebirds.