Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis)
The scientific name of the Eastern bluebird is the Sialia sialis. The bluebird is a small thrush and is 5.5 inches long with a narrow black bill. The bluebird found in Southwestern United States is lighter in colour than the Eastern bluebird elsewhere. You will often see the bluebird in open patches of ground like in wood edges and agricultural areas. The bluebird feeds by diving down from low branches to catch grasshoppers and other insects. Their accuracy in capturing prey is assisted by their excellent eyesight, and they can see as far as a 100 feet away.
The male is easily recognizable by its vibrant blue upper parts and its orange-red throat, breast and sides. The belly and the under tail coverts, on the other hand, are a pure white colour. The female also has blue wings and tail but the blue is just duller in colour than the males. Its crown and back are gray and it has a white ring around the eye. The female’s throat, breast and sides are brown, and like the male, its belly and under tail coverts are white. The juvenile bluebird also has dull blue wings and tail and gray crown and back. It has a white ring around the eye, but the under parts are spotted rather than white.
The Eastern Bluebird is often confused with other bluebirds because of their similar looks and coloring. The male Western Bluebird has a blue throat whereas the Eastern Bluebird has an orange-red one. The male Mountain Bluebird does not have any reddish color on its underparts, but apart from that, has similar coloring. The female birds are not as easy to separate as their male counterparts. Both the Mountain and Western Bluebirds have gray bellies and throats but the female Eastern Bluebird has a white belly and a brownish throat.
Unlike during the 1950s and 1960s, the Eastern Bluebird population has decreased alarmingly in recent years, dropping to as low as 17 percent of recorded numbers back then. Some of the reasons for this unfortunate situation include severe winters, increasing competition with other hole nesters for decreasing nest sites, and pesticides that have been used to control fire ants.