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Western Bluebird

Sialia mexicana ORDER: PASSERIFORMES FAMILY: TURDIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

In open parklands of the American West, brilliant blue-and-rust Western Bluebirds sit on low perches and swoop lightly to the ground to catch insects. Deep blue, rusty, and white, males are considerably brighter than the gray-brown, blue-tinged females. This small thrush nests in holes in trees or nest boxes and often gathers in small flocks to feed on insects or berries, giving their quiet, chortling calls. You can help out Western Bluebirds by placing nest boxes in your yard or park.

ML Essential Set
Be a Better Birder Tutorial 4

Songs

Western Bluebird songs tend to be a string of various call notes, particularly the kew note along with other stuttering or whistled notes. The result is a soft, hesitant song that can last 1-2 seconds.

Calls

The most common call is a soft, quavering kew that may be given from a perch or in flight and is often given several times in succession. They also make a harsher, double-noted che-check when changing position, and a chattering call when disturbed.

Other Sounds

Western Bluebirds clap their bill mandibles together in aggressive situations, making a clicking sound.

Search the Macaulay Library online archive for more sounds and videos

Backyard Tips

Western Bluebirds are mainly insectivorous in the summer and they can be attracted to feeders if you offer mealworms. (More on mealworms at our Attract Birds section). You can also invite bluebirds to a partially wooded yard by putting up nest boxes. Our NestWatch project has lots of free information about how to choose, build, and maintain nest boxes.

Find This Bird

Look for Western Bluebirds on low perches in woodlands and woodland edges. Also scan for them sitting atop nest boxes or fenceposts in summer. Their habit of dropping suddenly to the ground after insects can be recognizable even out of the corner of your eye. Their quiet, inquisitive call notes are easy to overlook, but distinctive once learned.

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The Importance of Family for Western Bluebirds: Story in BirdScope.