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Bluethroat

Luscinia svecica ORDER: PASSERIFORMES FAMILY: MUSCICAPIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

A small, brightly colored bird of the far north, the Bluethroat is found in North America only on the tundra of Alaska and the Yukon Territory. It is common, however, across Europe and Asia where it is not restricted to tundra habitat.

At a GlanceHelp

Measurements
Both Sexes
Length
5.5 in
14 cm
Weight
0.5–0.8 oz
15–22 g
Other Names
  • Gorgebleue à miroir (French)
  • Pechiazul común (Spanish)

Cool Facts

  • Male Bluethroats from Alaska to northern Europe have red centers to the blue throat. Those in central and southern Europe have white throat centers or entirely blue throats.
  • The Bluethroat is one of the handful of birds that breed in North America and winter in Asia. Exactly where the American birds go in winter is unknown.
  • The male Bluethroat is quite striking with its blue and red throat and its flashing reddish tail. However, it normally is very secretive and hard to see as it skulks through thick vegetation. It is easy to see only while it is singing or performing flight displays. When seen in the open, it often jerks or holds its tail up and quickly fans it open to flash the rufous patches at the base.

Habitat


Mountains

Breeds in low scrub thickets along streams in tundra. Winters in thick cover near water.

Food


Insects

Insects; some seeds and fruits in fall and winter.

Nesting

Nesting Facts
Clutch Size
5–7 eggs
Egg Description
Blue or bluish green with fine reddish speckling.
Condition at Hatching
Helpless, with eyes closed, and with long gray down.
Nest Description

Cup of woven sedges, grasses, rootlets, and fine twigs, lined with hair. Placed on ground in thicket or clump of grass.

Nest Placement

Ground

Behavior


Ground Forager

Gleans insects from low vegetation and ground, turns over leaves and soil, and hawks flying insects.

Conservation

status via IUCN

Least Concern

Bluethroat are found across Europe, Asia, and the far north of western North America. Partners in Flight estimates a global breeding population of 2 million, with 1% breeding in the U.S. The species rates a 10 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score and is not on the 2014 State of the Birds Watch List. There is no information on population trends of Bluethroat in Alaska or Yukon, but it is not considered threatened in North America, and worldwide populations appear stable.

Credits

  • Guzy, M. J., and B. J. McCaffery. 2002. Bluethroat (Luscinia svecica). In The Birds of North America, No. 670 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Birds of North America, Inc., Philadelphia, PA.
  • BirdLife International. 2012. Luscinia svecica. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T22705159A39394552
  • North American Bird Conservation Initiative, U.S. Committee. 2014. State of the Birds 2014 Report. U.S. Department of Interior, Washington, DC.
  • Partners in Flight. 2012. Species assessment database.

Range Map Help

Bluethroat Range Map
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