Family Thrushes (Turdidae)

Least Concern

Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis)


Taxonomy

French: Merlebleu de l’Est German: Rotkehl-Hüttensänger Spanish: Azulejo oriental
Taxonomy:

Motacilla Sialis

Linnaeus

, 1758,

South Carolina, USA

.

Sister to S. mexicana#R. Occasionally hybridizes with S. currucoides. Geographical variation slight, and level of individual variation in morphology and behaviour within and between populations remarkably high; in addition, lack of a “prealternate” moult results in very worn birds in spring and summer, confounding racial attribution; bermudensis, grata and meridionalis possibly untenable. Proposed race episcopus (S coastal Texas, in USA, S to S Tamaulipas, in NE Mexico) considered indistinguishable from nominate. Eight subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • S. s. sialis (Linnaeus, 1758) – S & SE Canada and E USA S to NE Mexico; non-breeding also N Mexico and Bermuda.
  • S. s. fulva Brewster, 1885 – SW USA (SE Arizona) S through montane C Mexico.
  • S. s. grata Bangs, 1898 – SW USA (S Florida).
  • S. s. bermudensis Verrill, 1901 – Bermuda.
  • S. s. nidificans A. R. Phillips, 1991 – Caribbean slope of EC Mexico.
  • S. s. guatemalae Ridgway, 1882 – SE Mexico (Chiapas) and Guatemala.
  • S. s. meridionalis Dickey & van Rossem, 1930 – El Salvador, Honduras and N Nicaragua.
  • S. s. caribaea T. R. Howell, 1965 – E Honduras and NE Nicaragua.
  • Descriptive notes

    16·5–21 cm; 26–32 g. Male nominate race is rich blue above and on side of head, with blackish tips of tail; submous­tachial area and neck to flanks... read more

    Voice

    Song, usually by male, from high exposed perch or in flight, at rate of 15–20 per minute, a... read more

    Habitat

    Originally probably fire-maintained savannas, open stands of mature pinewood, dead trees... read more

    Food and feeding

    Chiefly terrestrial arthropods in spring and summer, greatly supplemented and often largely replaced by fruits during autumn and winter.... read more

    Breeding

    Feb–Sept, mainly Mar–Aug, latitude-dependent, but Apr peak month for laying in all areas; mostly double-brooded, but in boreal... read more

    Movements

    Partial migrant, commonly travelling in small groups, sometimes in flocks of several hundreds;... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common in much of range; fairly common to common in Mexico; fairly common in Honduras. Constraints on numbers variable, but include weather and the... read more

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N. (2019). Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from https://www.hbw.com/node/58229 on 16 June 2019).