How to Identify a Mountain Bluebird

This species is the state bird of Idaho and Nevada. It’s not hard to see why mountain bluebirds are among the West’s most sought-after birds.

What Do Male and Female Mountain Bluebirds Look Like?

Mickey Barnes
Mountain bluebird, female (L) and male (R)

Family: Thrush.
Length: 7-1/4 inches.
Wingspan: 14 inches.
Distinctive Markings: Male mountain bluebird is brilliant blue all over, while the female is gray overall with pale-blue wing and tail feathers.

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What Do Mountain Bluebirds Eat?

mountain bluebirdCourtesy Michael Bradley

Their diet is primarily insects and berries. They may visit backyard feeders for live mealworms.

“While on vacation at Yellowstone in Montana with my family, I spotted a nesting pair who’d set up shop in a dried out old tree stump. They were extremely skittish—and busy—making back and forth trips to a nearby stream, returning with bounties of flies for their young. With a bit of patience , and setting up my Canon 5D Mark IV on a tripod a safe distance away with my daughter by my side, we shared the amazing experience of watching these beautiful birds in their natural environment,” says Michael Bradley.

Check out the best bluebird feeders and feeding tips.

Nest and Eggs

Bnbbyc17 John Pizniur 2Courtesy John Pizniur

A mountain bluebird pair builds a grass nest in a cavity or a birdhouse; the female lays four to six light-blue eggs inside.

“Mountain bluebirds are my favorite birds to photograph. and this year I was able to observe them from building a nest to hatching chicks and feeding them. I’ve spent hours watching and photographing these birds. I hope next year they will be back again,” says John Pizniur.

Learn how to make a DIY bluebird house.

Mountain Bluebird Song

Listen to the mountain bluebird’s song. Their voice sounds similar to the eastern bluebird’s song, but slightly higher pitched.

Bird songs provided by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Bluebird vs blue jay: how to tell the difference.

Mountain Bluebird Range Map and Habitat

A mountain bluebird perches on a tree during a winter snowstorm.Courtesy Laurie Normandeau

Learn where to spot these birds. They prefer very open country, including meadows, prairies, sometimes above treeline in mountains.

Mountain Bluebird Bird Species

Range maps provided by Kaufman Field Guides, the official field guide of Birds & Blooms.

Next, we asked the experts: Do bluebirds migrate in winter?

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Jill Staake
Jill lives in Tampa, Florida, and writes about gardening, butterflies, outdoor projects and birding. When she's not gardening, you'll find he reading, traveling and happily digging her toes into the sand on the beach.