Mountain Bluebird

Mountain Bluebird  
Scientific Name: Sialia currucoides
Family: Muscicapidae
Subfamily: Turdinae
Classification: Bird
Size: Length: 6 inches, Weight: 1 ounce

Description:

The male has sky-blue plumage. The female has a gray breast. Both male and female hunch shoulders when perched and point their bills downward. The juvenile is told from other bluebirds by its posture and by the paler blue of its wings and tail. The mountain bluebird hovers lower over the ground than other bluebirds when hunting for insects.
 

Habitat:

Found in meadows, orchards, high sagebrush, cottonwood and coniferous forests. Occupies high elevations in summer from 5,000 feet to 12,000 feet covering foothills to mountains and lowlands to desert in winter.

Nests in natural cavities in trees, old woodpecker holes, fenceposts, and birdhouses. The nests are built by both sexes with grasses and plant stems and sometimes lines with a few feathers.
 

Range:

Western half of united states, north to southern Canada and south to Mexico.
 

Natural History:

As the name implies, the mountain bluebird is found in high elevations in the summer, being most common about 5,000 feet and wandering in late summer up to 12,000 feet, and down to valleys and sea level in the winter. It is generally silent except at dawn with a song that is a soft warbling whistle.
 

Food Habits:

Insects are consumed year round and berries and other fruit in the fall and winter.
 

Breeding:

Four to seven glossy, oval-shaped eggs are laid in the spring and are incubated by the female for approximately 14 days.
 

Status:

Mountain bluebirds are protected by the federal migratory bird treaty act and Nevada state law.
 

Reason for Status:

It appears that loss of available nest sites is the most significant factor affecting Nevada’s mountain bluebirds.
 

Management & Conservation:

Management practices include maintaining old tress and snags for nest sites and the reduction or elimination of pesticides. Those management guidelines have been incorporated into several land use plans.
 

Fun Facts:

  • The nevada state legislature named the mountain bluebird as the official state bird in 1967.
  • Mountain bluebirds are closely related to robins.
  • Many native americans in the southwest see the mountain bluebird as a sacred symbol because of its azure-colored feathers. The navajo regard it as the herald of the rising sun, the image of a god.