Blue birds do not get their color from eating blue-pigmented food, unlike many red or orange birds. Instead, their coloration has more to do with the way the structures that make up their feathers reflect specific wavelengths of light. Whatever the reason, they come in all sorts of beautiful hues from deep navy to bright sky and everything in between. In this article we will look specifically at 15 blue birds in Florida.
15 Blue Birds in Florida
The blue or partially blue birds you can find in Florida include the indigo bunting, blue jay, blue grosbeak, belted kingfisher, barn swallow, Florida scrub jay, blue-gray gnatcatcher, tree swallow, eastern bluebird, black throated blue warbler, northern parula, great blue heron, little blue heron, painted bunting and tufted titmouse.
1. Indigo Bunting
Scientific Name: Passerina cyanea
The indigo bunting is a beautiful member of the bunting family. Indigo buntings are nicknamed “blue canaries” with good reason. Males are a bright vibrant blue all over, with their body being slightly lighter in color than their head. Females are a cinnamon brown with a white breast.
These songbirds and can be heard singing from their perches in the spring. Males and females forage in pairs when searching for food. While many blue birds in Florida live in the sunshine state year round, the indigo bunting only visits Florida in the summer. Between December and April, they migrate to South and Central America.
2. Blue Jay
Scientific Name: Cyanocitta cristata
Blue Jays are found nearly everywhere in the eastern U.S. year-round, including Florida! Large, sometimes aggressive birds with vivid blue feathers, blue jays are opportunistic when it comes to food. In addition to berries, insects, and earthworms, these easily recognizable birds are known to pick at carrion as vultures do.
Both males and female look the same, with blue upperparts, a grayish-white belly, a large black “necklace” and a tall head crest. They love peanuts, so that is a good way to attract them to your yard. Bird seed, nuts and suet are also enjoyed by blue jays.
3. Blue Grosbeak
Scientific Name: Passerina caerulea
A migratory bird with a cone-shaped beak designed to expertly snatch beetles, grasshoppers, and even praying mantises from bushes and trees, the blue grosbeak nests in Florida over summer. Once colder weather sets in, they’ll fly to Central and South America.
You’re likely to hear the deep, warbling song of the blue grosbeak in open habitats like fields, thickets, and woodland edges in central areas of the state. Male Blue Grosbeaks are completely blue except for black around their beak and reddish-brown wing bars. Females are a warm brown with just a hint of blue on their wings and rump.
4. Belted Kingfisher
Scientific Name: Megaceryle alcyon
The belted kingfisher has a particular silhouette that is easy to pick out. They have a bulky body with barley visible legs, a thick sword-like beak, short tail and big shaggy mohawk. The belted kingfisher has a blue-gray head, wings, tail and upper chest. They have a white belly and white stripe around the throat. Females also have an orange band across the belly, giving them their “belted” name.
Its sharp, long beak is perfectly made to snatch crayfish, fish, amphibians, and other aquatic creatures out of shallow water. The best place to look for belted kingfishers in Florida is around lakes, streams, swamps, and large ponds. They remain in most of the state year-round but may only be winter visitors to the southern tip.
5. Barn Swallow
Scientific Name: Hirundo rustica
The head, neck, and upper chest of the barn swallow are covered in dark, navy blue feathers that shimmer in sunlight. Their throat and forehead are dark orange with a buffy orange belly. Both males and females look the same.
Look for them swooping over fields and meadows as they catch insects in mid-air. Nests are constructed from mud and grass, usually under eves of barns, bridges or gazebos. They are most common in northern Florida where they spend the summer, otherwise you can see them as they migrate through in spring and fall on their way to or from their wintering grounds further south.
6. Florida Scrub Jay
Scientific Name: Aphelocoma coerulescens
Widespread habitat loss in Florida is making it more difficult to spot the Florida scrub jay in open woodlands containing scrub oak trees where they mainly eat acorns. Scrub jays have sky-blue upper parts with a gray back and belly. They are similar in size and shape to the blue jay, but lack a pointed head crest.
Flying from one tree to another involves the scrub jay engaging in a series of up-and-down waves that make them identifiable without binoculars. These birds have a spotty range in central Florida, remaining year-round in whatever scrub oak habitat they can find.
7. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Scientific Name: Polioptila caerulea
The small, active blue-gray gnatcatcher has a bluish-gray upper parts, pale underparts, a white eye ring, black tail with white outer feathers, and a black “eyebrow” that gives them a bit of a grumpy look. Their tail is typically pointing upwards when this bird is perched on a branch or other object, like a wren.
This tiny bird is constantly moving, flitting around branches, leaves and buds to find insects. Some populations of blue-gray gnatcatchers that live in the northern U.S. migrate to Florida during winter. Other populations remain in Florida all year.
8. Tree Swallow
Scientific name: Tachycineta bicolor
The tree swallow is a common summer visitor to much of the northern half of the U.S., and spends the winter along the southern coast, including Florida. Find them swooping and gliding above fields and meadows, catching insects in the air.
Their throat and belly are pure white. Iridescent feathers cover their head and back, often appear blue-green or blue-purple. Tree swallows often use the same birdhouses as bluebirds.
9. Eastern Bluebird
Scientific Name: Sialia sialis
Central and northern Florida is home to the eastern bluebird. Some remain year-round while some may move slightly south to Mexico for the winter. Males have vivid blue feathers on their tails, wings and head ,with an orange breast and white belly. Females are similarly colored but are much less vibrant.
They are common in backyards, though not so much at feeders. Put up a birdhouse and try your luck in attracting a mating pair. These bluebirds are mainly insect and berry eaters, preferring wooded but open habitat without heavy ground cover.
10. Black-throated Blue Warbler
Scientific Name: Setophaga caerulescens
Males of this species sport a dark blue head, back and tail, with a black face and white belly. Females look very different, with a dirty-olive body and gray wings. Rather than spending their time in the treetops, they prefer to search for insects in the understory and lower canopy.
Black-throated blue warblers are chatty songbirds that migrate to the Caribbean and southern Florida to spend the winter between September and April. You can spot them throughout the state in the spring and fall as they are passing through, when they may stop in gardens and parks.
11. Northern Parula
Scientific Name: Setophaga americana
About five inches long with a wing span of six to seven inches, the Northern Parula is a blue-gray warbler sporting a bright yellow patch of feathers on its breast and throat. Males and females look similar, but males have much more vibrant colors.
Look for Northern parulas in woods thick with Spanish moss, swamps, and stagnant streams. They can be found throughout much of Florida in the summer, and far southern Florida during the winter.
12. Great Blue Heron
Scientific Name: Ardea herodias
The great blue heron uses its long legs to hunt for food by walking through shallow water. This common heron species can be found throughout Florida year-round. They’re the largest herons in North America, standing about 4.5 feet tall.
They have grayish-blue feathers, a white face and large yellow beak. Great blue herons inhabit many types of freshwater and saltwater habitats, stalking their prey by walking slowly or standing still until the time is right to strike with their sharp beak.
13. Little Blue Heron
Little blue herons inhabit salt and freshwater environments throughout Florida all year. At maturity, they can reach a length of 30 inches and wingspans of 40 inches. As juveniles they are all white, but when their adult plumage comes in they have bodies of gray-blue with a purplish-blue neck and head.
Often seen alone or in pairs, look for shallow water with vegetation for cover. They often build their nests alongside colonies of other water birds.
14. Painted Bunting
Scientific name: Passerina ciris
Painted Buntings are like a painting come to life. It’s hard to group them into any one color category with their multi-colored hues. Because of their bright blue head, we’ve included them on this list. They also sport a red belly and bright green back. Males are the colorful ones, while females are an all-over yellowish-green.
In the panhandle, northern and central parts of the state, you can catch them in spring and fall during their migration. A population will stop and nest for the summer along the northeastern coast. You may also see them in the southern tip of the state during the winter months.
15. Tufted Titmouse
Scientific name: Baeolophus bicolor
These little birds are very common at feeders and in backyards within their range, which is the eastern United States. While not a very bright blue, these titmice have a definite blue hue to their silver-gray back. Their bellies are light gray with a hidden patch of orange along their side.
Tufted Titmice are primarily insectivores and have a diet that includes insects and spiders, but they also eat seeds, berries and nuts. They can be acrobatic when probing for insects or grabbing berries, hanging upside down and flitting around the ends of tree branches. A common bird throughout Florida year-round.