There are three species of these colourful North American birds. Eastern and western bluebirds have a reddish brown breast, which contrasts with their predominately blue plumage. Their relative, the (male) mountain bluebird is entirely blue.
Facts about Bluebirds
1. Bluebirds eat small fruits and hunt insects, spiders, and other creatures from above.
2. The birds perch, watch, and then swoop to the ground to pounce on their prey.
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3. Females lay four or five eggs and incubate them for about two weeks
4. Both sexes defend territories; however, the males tend to defend territory edges while the females primarily defend the nest site.
5. Males may carry nest material to the nest, but they do not participate in the actual building. They spend much time guarding their mates during this time to prevent them from mating with other males.
6. Bluebirds prefer to nest in open fields, meadows, gardens, hedges and parks where trees are scattered and grasses are short.
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7. A bluebird can spot caterpillars and insects in tall grass at the remarkable distance of over 50 yards.
8. Bluebird females of all species have duller plumage than males; this may reduce their visibility to predators.
9. Bluebirds have no blue pigments in their feathers. Instead, each feather barb has a thin layer of cells that absorb all wavelengths of colour except blue. Only the blue wavelength is reflected and scattered, resulting in their blue appearance to our eyes.
10. Like many other birds, Bluebirds make a high volume shriek when captured by predators. It is thought that these screams are used to attract other predators, which in turn will then distract the original predator long enough for the Bluebird to escape. The lifespan of a bluebird is anywhere from 3 to 5 years.