What Kind Of Birds Lay Blue Eggs The Complete Guide
The first time you see a blue egg you might be surprised. Eggs are supposed to white, right? This might make you think that you have a rare bird living in your yard. So what kind of birds lay blue eggs?
There are actually many species of birds that lay blue eggs. Red-winged blackbirds, Dunnocks, House Finches, and Black Tinamous are some of the most common birds that lay blue eggs. If you find a nest with blue eggs in it, we recommend watching from a distance to see what kind of bird comes back to the nest.
Lets learn more about what kind of birds lay blue eggs.
Responses To What Kind Of Eggs Are These 3 Blue And 2 Speckled
I have the exact egg combo in a nest in one of our hanging ferns! 3 blue eggs and 2 dark speckled eggs. How can this be? Same bird mother? Or nest competition and two mothers claiming one nest? But then again, we have hung ferns in the same places for 23 years and I have to say this is the first time we have had this happen. Would live for an ornithologist to offer some reasonable explanation. These having ferns of ours typically birth 12 to 15 new birds each spring. I just love this event!!!
Hi Susanne, This sounds like you probably have a House Finch nest with two cowbird eggs. Brown-headed Cowbirds are a native and protected species that reproduces by laying its eggs in other birds nests. You can learn more about these birds here. Note that Brown-headed Cowbird chicks dont always do well in House Finch nests because House Finches are one of the few songbirds that feeds their young a mostly vegetarian diet, while cowbirds really thrive on the protein that insects provide. The best way to proceed here is to continue monitoring as normal! We also invite you to submit your observations to NestWatch learn more here.
Different Bird Species May Also Lay Eggs In A Bluebird Nest
The Brown-headed Cowbird is a known brood parasite. But parasitism by Cowbirds on Bluebird nests is rare when the cavity entrance is too small to allow a female cowbird easy access.
The same holds for nesting boxes. Nests with an entrance hole of 5.4 cm in diameter and larger were parasitized by cowbirds more often than entrances with a smaller diameter.
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Are Blue Eggs Healthier
People tend to buy unique colored eggs more believing that these distinct blue, or green colored eggs are healthier than the traditional white and brown eggs. The idea is altogether a myth for there is no difference in the nutritional makeup of different colored eggs from a single species of bird.
This implies that the white eggs laid by Robins are no less healthy than the blue eggs laid by the same bird.
Why Do Birds Lay Blue Eggs
Bright blue eggs are beautiful, and relatively common among birds. Find out why.
The question of why so many birds lay bright blue eggs has intrigued David Lahti since childhood examples include the dunnock, the American robin and the starling.
My parents bought me a book about commonly asked questions. One was, Why are American robin eggs blue? The answer essentially said, We dont know. My young mind was struck by the fact that there were simple questions to which science had not yet provided answers.
Lahti is now a City University of New York biologist, who may have solved the mystery at last.
His experiments on village weaverbirds, a species with highly variable egg colours, suggest that blue is a compromise between protecting the developing embryo from the damaging effects of overheating and ultraviolet radiation.
If eggs are too dark, they will overheat in the sun. Too pale, and they do not shield against ultraviolet radiation.
But Lahtis curiosity is far from satisfied. Why do emus lay such dark eggs? Why are Japanese bush warbler eggs brick red? And why are tinamou eggs so glossy? he wonders.
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What Does The Color Of The Shell Say About The Bird
The shade of blue that the shell is doesnt say much about the the embryo.
However, it does say a few things about the health of the parent birds. Eggs that have vibrant egg shells are a sign that the parents of the embryo are very healthy birds. This may also mean that the bird from the egg will also have good health.
If the eggs color seems similar to the nest, so the egg is camouflaged, it can mean that the parent bird was not often present in the nest to protect the eggs. Additionally, if eggs from the same hatch have different colors, then this can mean that there is a brood parasite present.
Birds That Lay Blue Eggs
Whenever we talk about eggs, most people instinctively think of a white or buff-colored egg. And it makes sense most birds do lay eggs in these colors. All the eggs that we consume are generally either white or buff.
However, did you know that some birds can lay a different colored egg as well? Say, blue or green or olive? Well, while most of these birds are wild, their list stretches quite long.
Here are the bird species that lay blue eggs:
In this article, we will talk about all these birds and explore what their clutch looks like.
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Robin Eggs Erithacus Rubecula
20 x 15.5mm, robin eggs are smooth but with a matte finish. Theyre white eggs with variable fine brown freckles, and the whole egg may seem buff.
Robins pair for the breeding season but are independent the rest of the year they usually begin courting in late winter or early spring. Males feed the female as she sits in the nest, supplying her with about one-third of her food.
Robins abandon nests easily if they fear they have been discovered, as they nest on the ground. They have been known to nest in curious places, like inside boots, kettles, or coat pockets. Shells can frequently be found on the ground as the female removes them immediately after chicks have hatched, though she sometimes eats part of them for their calcium content.
After two weeks the chicks fledge, but they are still cared for by their parents for a further three weeks as they totter around on the ground. Three or four broods can be laid a year, with nestlings found into the summer months. Robins have very strong nurturing instincts and are sometimes found to feed the young of other species.
What Bird Species Lay Blue Eggs
So, what kind of bird lays blue eggs? Most people probably already know that robins lay blue eggs. But what they also probably do not know is that there are lots of other bird species that lay blue or bluish-green eggs. Here are some of them:
The common blackbird commonly lives in wooded areas, like parks, farmland hedges, gardens, and the like. You might even find these tiny little rascals feeding in your lawn or garden during the spring and summer.
These birds have a caroling song commonly heard in both urban and suburban areas, a testament to their amazing adaptability. The common blackbird lays its clutch of 3 to 5 blue eggs usually between March and July. The eggs are bluish-green with red specks sprinkled all over, and their average size is 29mm long and 22mm wide.
You can usually find dunnocks in the outskirts of forests, hedgerows, gardens, and parks. Many often mistake these birds for the common house sparrow. The dunnock is a small bird that usually feeds on insects, earthworms, and seeds.
Male and female dunnocks typically mate for life. However, there are times when the female would mate with other male dunnocks. This tiny bird can lay up to 5 eggs per laying season.
The female dunnock can lay a clutch consisting of 4 to 5 tiny eggs at a time. The eggs have a glossy blue color with faint reddish-brown specks, and they are, on average, 19mm long and 14mm wide.
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Bluebirds Rarely Nest Outside A Cavity
Bluebird nesting in a gutter. Photo: Deny Lammardo.
There have been reports of bluebirds nesting in gutters that appear to be enclosures. However, nesting on the ground or tree branches has not been reported in recent years.
A substantial percentage of Eastern Bluebirds nowadays nest in birdhouses. Plenty of nest boxes are available to nesting bluebirds, partly explaining why there are not many records of bluebirds nesting outside cavities.
Nowadays, more nesting sites are available, but cavities of any type are always in demand.
Bluebirds compete for nesting sites with other secondary cavity nesters such as chickadees, titmice, nuthatches, wrens, great crested flycatchers, tree swallows, European starlings, and House Sparrows.
What Is The Difference Between Blue Eggs And Regular Color Bird Eggs
There is very little difference between the eggs of different colors, be it blue or white.
When it comes to health, all the different colors of the eggshells do not matter as all give the same health needs. The difference in the color of the egg is due to the pigmentation inside the bird. The color of the eggs depends on the species, and colors come from the pigments that the birds produce. The primary pigment that creates the blue coloration is called biliverdin, which comes from the compound heme that makes blood red.
As the birds’ age, the coloration of the eggs also becomes lighter. When the bird is young, a bright coloration can be seen. Smaller eggs will be bluer, while larger ones will be paler. There is no other difference other than the pigmentation we discussed, and this is how birds lay blue eggs.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for birds that lay blue eggs, then why not take a look at what do cockroaches eat, or can ferrets eat cat food?
Ritwik has a bachelor’s degree in English from Delhi University. His degree developed his passion for writing, which he has continued to explore in his previous role as a content writer for PenVelope and his current role as a content writer at Kidadl. In addition to this, he has also completed CPL training and is a licensed commercial pilot!
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On Very Rare Occasions Bluebirds Have Nested Outside A Cavity
A literature review reveals that bluebirds, on rare occasions, have built a cup-shaped nest on a bank on the ground and in a fork formed by thick branches.
Allaire reported a nest on the ground on surface-mined lands in Kentucky. Sprunt reports a bluebird nest on an oak limb in Clemson, South Carolina, and another in the longleaf pine forests of Alabama.
All About Blue Jay Eggs
As another populous bird in the US, Blue jays are the source of many of the other blue eggs you might find in the grass.
Blue jay eggs are slightly larger than Robin eggs, which makes sense as Blue jay adults are also larger than Robins. They can be found underneath a Blue jay nest, typically built where the tree branch meets the trunk.
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What Birds Have Blue Eggs Discover 21 Avian Species
Written by Clinton Atkins / Fact Checked by George Dukes
Its a wonder of nature that bird eggs can range from brown, white, to even blue with different patterns.
To know what birds have blue eggs, explore 21 avian species right here. These birds include robins, finches, crows, thrushes, bluebirds, blue jays, dunnocks, and more.
Raymond Harris Chingosprey Eggs
Clutch size: 1 to 4 eggs
It takes an osprey five weeks or so to complete the incubation period for its dark blotch-covered eggs. Older birds often pair with previous partners, reusing and improving the preceding years nest to build an even bulkier and presumably safer site for incubating the eggs. Ospreys sometimes nest in loose colonies, where they observe and copy cues about from what location their neighbors might have brought in the latest catch to feed their young.
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Birds That Lay Blue Eggs In North America
Inside: A complete guide to birds that lay blue eggs. These are common birds in North America that lay eggs that are some shade or hue of blue. Discover the species that lay these blue eggs, photos of each bird, and information about each one for fast and accurate identification.
So you found a nest with blue eggs, or perhaps a blue egg on the ground, and would like to identify the parents. Youve come to the right place because Ive included all of the common birds that lay blue eggs. Pale blue, bright blue, turquoise-blue, blue-green eggs theyre all here along with descriptions of the birds.
Over my 20 years of backyard birding, Ive encountered numerous bird nests with blue eggs. Usually, theyre an Eastern Bluebird or American Robin because theyre most prevalent where I live in Wisconsin. So, I can easily identify these birds eggs and nests.
Still, there are at least 14 more species of common birds that lay blue eggs throughout North America. Ive researched each one using a Cornell University Labs ornithological website or The Audubon Societys website to bring you accurate information.
Get read to identify that blue bird egg youre interested in!
Cracking The Mystery Of How Birds Eggs Are Blue
Slate blue great blue heron eggs are guarded in Ithaca, New York. Cornell Lab of Ornithology/via Flickr
Last November I wrote an article for this column about the color blue in nature: how rare it is, and how difficult it is for nature to even produce it. To my delight, it garnered a lot of interest and curiosity, and even a letter to the editor with a story about why robins eggs are blue. I thought this a dazzling and timely! example of blue in nature to write about in springtime.
Robin eggs in the Museum Wiesbaden collection, Germany. Klaus Rassinger via Wikimedia Commons
Yes, robins eggs are blue, but so are the eggs of many other local birds. Most of the thrushes in this area the wood thrush, hermit thrush and veery have blue eggs, as do Eastern bluebirds, European starlings, great blue herons and gray catbirds .
Still others are blue with brown speckles: scarlet tanager, red-winged blackbird, and house finch eggs, to name just a few. But why?
To understand why so many birds have blue eggs, we need to examine both the source of the color, and possible evolutionary advantages to having blue eggs.
First, the source of the blue in birds eggs is the pigment biliverdin, a word that derives from the Latin meaning green bile. In the final stages of egg development within the birds body, the gelatinous and membrane-coated egg enters the shell gland , wherein the calcium carbonate shell forms and pigments are deposited throughout it.
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When Does Egg Laying Begin
The female Bluebird begins laying eggs between 6 and 7 days after the nest is completed.
The overall timing of egg-laying throughout the Bluebirdâs range reflects the timing of nest building. Egg-laying begins during February and March in the warmer southern states and March and April in the northern and colder states.
During April, most breeding Bluebirds are at least incubating eggs.
Reasons Why These Birds Lay Blue Eggs
Female birds have two ink cartridges in their reproductive system: biliverdin and protoporphyrin.
All birds possess these two molecules, but not all species use it.
The ones that do use it, however, produce beautifully colored eggshells.
Biliverdin is the molecule that produces the blue and green pigment in eggshells.
The higher the concentration biliverdin, the bluer the egg.
Protoporphyrin is the pigment that makes eggs red or brown or creates visible spots and speckles on the eggshells.
These inks are added to the freshly formed shell in the last few hours of production.
Interestingly enough, the color of the eggs will change through the laying cycle of birds that lay multiple eggs at a time. It is as if theyre running out of pigment, but in actual fact, it points to the mother bird running out of calcium and nutrients.
Since 10% of the calcium in eggshells comes from the female, she needs extra calcium and nutrients while laying eggs. If she doesnt get any, the eggs will vary in shade color.
So, now that you know how it works lets move on to why it is necessary.
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Why Do Bird Eggs Have Different Colors
Aside from helping the developing bird embryo, eggs are also nutritious snacks for other animals, including other birds. This is the reason why eggs are colored the way they are for extra protection. Bird eggs come in different colors because they evolved a natural camouflage. Their colors also depend on where the birds live.
The parents are not always in their nest, so sometimes, they need to leave their eggs unguarded. Snakes, lizards, and other birds actively hunt for bird eggs because they are highly nutritious. They do not also fight back, making them easy targets.
However, because of their natural camouflage, predators will need to work a bit harder to spot the defenseless little eggs.
Aside from camouflage, the colors of the bird eggs also protect them against the harmful rays of the sun. The heat and radiation from the rays of the sun can cause significant damage to the contents of the egg. They can also affect the incubation period of the bird embryo.
If the heat from the sun rushes the incubation period, it will adversely affect the development of the unhatched chick. This can cause untoward mutations. The heat from the sun can easily overheat dark-colored eggs compared to lighter-colored ones.