The Mountain Bluebird (Sialia currucoides) is a medium-sized bird weighing about 30 g (1.1 oz) with a length from 16–20 cm (6.3–7.9 in). They have light underbellies and black eyes. Adult males have thin bills and are bright turquoise-blue and somewhat lighter underneath. Adult females have duller blue wings and tail, gray breast, gray crown, throat, and back. In fresh fall plumage, the female’s throat and breast are tinged with red-orange, brownish near the flank contrasting with white tail underparts. Their call is a thin ‘few’; while their song is warbled high ‘chur chur.’ It is the state bird of Idaho and Nevada. It is an omnivore, and it can live 6 to 10 years in the wild. It eats spiders, grasshoppers, flies and other insects, and small fruits. The mountain bluebird is a relative of the Eastern and Western Bluebirds. [Wikipedia]
Male Mountain Bluebirds lend a bit of cerulean sparkle to open habitats across much of western North America. You may spot these cavity-nesters flitting between perches in mountain meadows, in burned or cut-over areas, or where prairie meets forest—especially in places where people have provided nest boxes. Unlike many thrushes, Mountain Bluebirds hunt insects from perches or while on the wing, at times resembling a tiny American Kestrel with their long wings, hovering flight, and quick dives [All About Birds]
Mountain Bluebird Facts [All About Birds]
- A female Mountain Bluebird pays more attention to good nest sites than to attractive males. She chooses her mate solely on the basis of the location and quality of the nesting cavity he offers her—disregarding his attributes as a singer, a flier, or a looker.
- A male Mountain Bluebird frequently feeds his mate while she is incubating and brooding. As the male approaches with food, the female may beg fledgling-style—with open beak, quivering wings, and begging calls. More often, she waits until her mate perches nearby, then silently flicks the wing farthest from him—a signal that usually sends him off to find her a snack.
- Mountain Bluebirds compete fiercely with other cavity-nesters over nest sites. Early spring arrival at nesting grounds, for example, helps them take possession of choice cavities before Tree Swallows can appropriate them. Northern Flickers sometimes enlarge the entrance holes of nest boxes before discovering the box is too small for their own use—rendering the boxes permeable to weather and competitors such as European Starlings.
- The oldest recorded Mountain Bluebird was a female, and at least 9 years old when she was recaptured and rereleased during banding operations in Alberta.