Monday, March 4, 2013

Eastern Bluebird

Sialia sialis (male and female)
The Eastern Bluebird is a small little Thrush that is named after the coloration found in the males-- they have bold blue backs and orange-ish underside. The females have similarly-colored undersides, but have grey feathers up top.

You'll spot these birds all over the Eastern United States, where they live in open areas that have access to nesting sites. They require either tree cavities or nest boxes in order to reproduce, and in fact the growth of man-made nest boxes has helped the species to bounce back from low population levels in the 1960s. Nest boxes allow the Bluebirds to breed in areas where they once couldn't, and they keep the nests safe from certain predators.

When it comes to courtship, the male Eastern Bluebirds select a nest site,  bring materials to it, and do aerial movements to attract females. If a female is enticed, it is she who will actually build the nest and incubate the eggs, though both parents will help to feed the young. The young birds each insects almost exclusively, though as adults they will expand their diets to include fruits and other invertebrates.

IUCN Status : Least Concern
Location : Eastern United States
Size : Length up to 8in (20cm), Wingspan up to 13in (32cm)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Aves -- Order : Passeriformes
Family : Turdidae -- Genus : Sialia -- Species : S. sialis
Image : Gary Irwin

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