Western Bluebird

photo by Phil Swanson

Sialia mexicana
L 7″ (18 cm).

Song or calls:
Listen (NGPC audio)

Soft “phew” and “chuck.” Song is short, subdued “cheer, cheer-lee, churr.”

Description: Male’s upperparts and throat deep purple-blue; orange-red breast, sides, and flanks; grayish belly and undertail coverts. May show some orange-red on shoulders and upper back. Female is duller overall, with brownish-gray head, throat, and back . Juveniles like female, but grayer and with speckled underparts.

Habitat: Migrants can be found in open plains and foothills, open woodlands, farmlands, and orchards.

Where in Nebraska: Rare vagrant. Individuals seen during both spring and fall in Dawes, Scotts Bluff, Webster, and Knox Counties at least on five occasions. No breeding records for Nebraska.

Fun Facts: Adult Western Bluebirds often beat larger prey items against a hard surface before feeding it to young.

Western Bluebird - photo by Phil Swanson
(click image for larger view)