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15 Birds With Blue Heads

Blue feathers are less common in the bird world than most other colors. Perhaps that is why we find blue birds so charming and exciting to see. Whether you just want to find out more about what species are out there, or you are trying to identify a bird you saw, we’ve got photos and descriptions of fifteen birds with blue heads. Let’s take a look at the variety of of these blue feathered gems.

15 Birds With Blue Heads

1. Eastern Bluebird

Eastern bluebird
Eastern bluebird

Scientific name: Sialia sialis

The Eastern bluebird, commonly spotted in the eastern United States, thrives in open woodlands and fields. They can even be common backyard visitors in the right suburban and rural settings. This bird’s distinct appearance showcases vibrant blue plumage on the upper body, accented by a warm rusty brown on the chest and a pristine white underbelly.

The males have a dash of brighter blue on their wings, head, and tail. The females still have blue markings, but it’s more of a dusky shade. Count your lucky stars if you see these beauties in your yard because they’re some of the best pest-control birds nature has to offer. They feast on insects, fruits, and berries.

2. Blue jay

Blue jay
Blue jay

Scientific name:  Cyanocitta cristata

When thinking of birds with blue heads, there’s no doubt that the Blue jay is one of the first that comes to mind. The species is a common sight across eastern North America, inhabiting woodlands, urban areas, and parks. The distinctive bird has vivid blue plumage on its upper body and is crowned with a tall head tuft, with white face markings and a white underbelly.

The Blue jay’s distinctive black markings on its wings, tail, and head outline the bird’s beauty. The species is rather big, measuring around 9 to 12 inches. Their diet includes nuts, seeds, insects, and even small vertebrates. Blue jays are known for taking large nuts and acorns and caching them away for later.

3. Mountain bluebird

mountain bluebird
Mountain Bluebird | image by Larry Lamsa via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific name: Sialia currucoides

The Mountain bluebird, a stunning avian resident of the western United States and Canada, inhabits open woodlands and mountainous regions. With an average length of 6 to 7 inches, it flaunts sky-blue plumage on its upper body, head, and wings, contrasting with its light blue and white underbelly. Unlike the Eastern and Western bluebirds, mountain bluebirds don’t have an orange breast.

Females have some blue on their back, wings, and tail, but most of their body is gray/brown. Mountain bluebirds are fairly comfortable around human activity, and are easy to spot sitting out in the open on branches, fence posts, roofs and utility poles. 

4. Woodhouse’s scrub jay

Woodhouse’s scrub jay
Woodhouse’s scrub jay | image by Ron Knight via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific name: Aphelocoma woodhouseii

The Woodhouse’s scrub jay, native to southwestern North America, including areas like Arizona and New Mexico, is recognized by its distinctive blue and gray body. Slightly smaller than the Steller’s jay, it measures around 11 inches in length.

While this scrub jay does have a blue head, it has dark feathers around its eyes and a light throat. Another distinctive feature is their long, straight beak. To attract them to your yard, provide nuts, seeds, and water sources to create an inviting environment.

5. Indigo bunting

Indigo bunting male
Indigo Bunting (male) | image by NPS | N. Lewis via Flickr

Scientific name: Passerina cyanea

The Indigo bunting is a captivating bird known for its brilliant blue color all over. During the breeding season, you’ll find this small songbird in open woodlands, fields, and gardens across eastern and southern North America.

Males are easily identified by their deep blue coloring and contrasting black wings. Female indigo buntings are mostly brown, looking quite different from their male counterparts. However when the breeding season ends and it is time for this species to head back south, males will molt a lot of their blue feathers and become a patchy mix of blue and brown.

6. Western bluebird

Western bluebird perched
Western bluebird perched

Scientific name: Sialia mexicana

The Western bluebird thrives in western North America, gracing habitats like meadows and open woodlands. Compared to the male Eastern bluebird, these males have darker coloring, a grayish tint to their belly, and their rusty chest extends to their upper back. Like other bluebirds, males are bright while females coloring is duller.

For the bird’s nesting habits, it often uses natural cavities or nest boxes. The species is social and tends to hunt for food together, so if you see one, there are likely several others nearby.

7. Lazuli bunting

Male lazuli bunting perched on metal wire
Male lazuli bunting perched on metal wire | image by Blalonde via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 4.0

Scientific name: Passerina amoena

The lazuli bunting is another charming bird that visits the U.S. to breed, however they choose to spend summers in the western half of the country. Males measure around 5.5 inches, slightly larger than females, and display two shades of blue. They have a bright blue encompassing their entire heads down to their neck, while the bird’s back, wings, and tail are a deeper shade of blue. Their chest is rust-brown and white.

However, females are more subdued in color with earthy brown tones, with a slightly blue tail and wing bars. Their eggs are also typically pale blue. These buntings search for insects, berries and seeds in the understory of thickets, brushy hills, valleys and agricultural areas. 

8. California scrub-jay

California Scrub Jay
California Scrub Jay | image by Becky Matsubara via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific name: Aphelocoma californica

The California scrub jay thrives in far western North America, in California, Oregon, and Washington. They look a lot like the Woodhouse’s scrub jay, also on this list. In fact up until a few years ago they were looked at as one species, the Western scrub jay. 

Offer nuts, seeds, and water sources to attract them to your garden. Males and females appear similar, with only slight hue variations. Their long, slender light-blue body, white underside, and white patch on their throat make them easy to spot.

9. Blue grosbeak

blue grosbeak
Blue Grosbeak (male) | image by Dan Pancamo via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific name: Passerina caerulea

The Blue grosbeak graces the southern United States in the summer when it comes up from Mexico and Central America to breed. Males of this species have a noticeably vibrant blue head and body that’s hard to miss. Their wing bars are shades of warm brown. They have a thick, conical, light gray beak to help them crack tough seeds. 

Females are less vivid than their male counterparts. They are mostly a warm brown with hints of blue. These grosbeaks tend to like shrubs, so if you want to attract them, start planting and offer them a water source. A fun feature of the Blue Grosbeak is they like to twitch their tails sideways. That behavior can help you confirm the species.

10. Common grackle

common grackle
Common Grackle | image by:

Scientific name: Quiscalus quiscula

The Common grackle, known for its iridescent purplish/black plumage and yellow eyes. They are a familiar sight east of the Rocky Mountains. Males tend to be larger with longer tails. They are also more colorful, with hues of purple, bronze on the body and blue on their head. Females sport slightly duller coloring, and are mainly brown with hints of purple and green. Dull light is the best time to see these colors, as harsh sunlight often makes them look black.

Found in open spaces, they forage for insects, seeds, and berries, other small birds, lizards, and even small rodents. Their loud and varied calls, along with their social nature, make them a lively addition to urban and suburban environments. Keep an eye out for them foraging on the ground in parks, fields, and even your own backyard.

11. Northern Parula

Northern Parula
Northern Parula | image by Scott Heron via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific name: Setophaga americana 

Northern Parulas are warblers that migrate north into the eastern U.S. during the breeding season. Adult males and females look very similar, with a powder blue back, tail and head, yellow throat and chest and white belly. The Northern Parula is hard to spot in dense treetops but it is definitely easy to hear. The sound is a buzzy trill and can be heard throughout spring and summer.  

12. Belted Kingfisher

belted kingfisher with fish
Belted Kingfisher with fish, the most common U.S. Kingfisher species | image by Andrew Morffew via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific name: Megaceryle alcyon

The Belted Kingfisher is perfectly adapted to its preferred habitat of streams, riversides, and coasts. To hunt, the kingfisher perches on a branch over water, waiting to spot a suitable fish. Then it can use its large, dagger-like beak to dive head first into the water and snatch its prey.  

Both males and females have similar coloring that includes a dark, powdery blue on the head, crest, back, wings and “necklace”. Males have a white belly, while females bellies are white with brown striping. Look for these common kingfishers around ponds and still water bodies across the U.S.

13. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

Blue-gray gnatcatcher
Blue-gray gnatcatcher | image by Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific name: Polioptila caerulea

These frisky little gnatcatchers are hard to catch sitting still. They flit among the trees probing leaves, flowers and every crevice they can find for insects. Adults of both species look the same, with a dusky blue head and back, light throat and belly, and black tail with white edges. Breeding males also have a dark V-shaped line that extends across their eyes, giving them the appearance of having angry eyebrows. 

If they catch an insect that’s too large to eat in one bite, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers will beat it against a tree branch to break it up before eating it! 

14. Cerulean Warbler

image: WarblerLady | Flickr | CC 2.0

Scientific name: Setophaga cerulea

The male Cerulean Warbler is a striking sky blue that can even appear turquoise in the right light. They have a white throat and black streaking. Like other warblers, females appear different with yellow feathers that have a slight blue wash. 

These warblers spend the winter in northern South America, then travel all the way to the U.S. to spend their summer in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Michigan and Wisconsin. Notoriously hard to find, they like to spend most of their time looking for food at the top of the forest canopy.

15. Black-throated Blue Warbler

Black-throated Blue Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler | image: Kelly Colgan Azar | Flickr | CC 2.0

Scientific name: Setophaga caerulescens

Black-throated Blue Warblers spend the winter in the Caribbean, then migrate into the eastern U.S. in the spring. Look for them around the Great Lakes and the northeast. Unlike some warblers that like to stay high in the treetops, these guys prefer the lower canopy and shrubby understory, so they may be a little easier to spot. Females are very plain with olive coloring, while males have all the color. They sport bright white underparts, a black face and blue from the top of their down down to their tail.