Common Name

Scientific Name

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Photo by Jim Parrish
Photo Copyright Jim Parrish

The western bluebird, Sialia mexicana, breeds in open forests and meadows in the western United States and southern British Columbia, usually at elevations higher than 7,000 feet. The winter range of the species includes the west coast of the United States, the southwestern United States, and much of Mexico. The species is commonly found year-round in the mountains of central and southern Utah.

Western bluebirds rush forth from perches to capture flying insects, and they also glean snails and earthworms from the ground. When breeding, the pair selects a cavity in a dead standing tree, often an old woodpecker's nest, and lines it with fine materials. The female incubates four to six eggs for about two weeks. The young are born naked and blind, and are tended to by both parents. The chicks leave the nest after about three weeks. The female begins preparations for a second brood after the chicks leave the nest, so the male assumes responsibility for caring for the first fledglings. Because the western bluebird relies on nesting cavities in dead trees and branches, the removal and felling of dead trees negatively impacts the reproductive success of the species.


  • Hayward, C. L., Cottam, C., Woodbury, A. M., and H. H. Frost. 1976. Birds of Utah. In Great Basin Naturalist Memoirs, No. 1 (Wood, S. L. and K. T. Harper, eds.). Brigham Young University, Provo, UT.

  • Ehrlich, P. R., D. S. Dobkin, and D. Wheye. 1988. The birderís handbook[:] a field guide to the natural history of North American birds. Simon & Schuster, New York. xxx + 785 pp.

  • National Geographic Society. 1996. Field guide to the birds of North America, 2nd edition. The National Geographic Society, Washington, D. C.