Bluebirds in Virginia

Top 20 Bluebirds in Virginia

Virginia is located in the mid-Atlantic and southeastern regions of the United States. It is also famous for being a suitable place for avian species.

Due to its ecological diversity, Virginia has been contributing for years to the rising population of avian species worldwide.

In this article, I will discuss the top 20 bluebirds of Virginia state, including their scientific names, size, native, wingspan, lifespans, diet, and other necessary information that I observed when I visited this Virginia state.

So, let’s delve into these beautiful Virginia bluebirds’ lives.

Top 20 Bluebirds in Virginia

Being a lover of avian species, my life always revolves around exploring these beautiful avian species. However, on my last visit to Virginia, I encountered such beautiful bluebirds, rare in other regions.

In this section, I will discuss Virginia’s top 20 bluebirds, including their physical characteristics, geographic distribution, habitat preferences, feeding habits, and other seasonal behaviors. 

1. Blue Jay 

  • Scientific name:  Cyanocitta cristata 
  • Lifespan:  average 7 years 
  • Wingspan : 13 to 17 inches 
  • Native to: North America 
  • Size: 22 to 30 cm
  • Food or Diet: corn, grains, seeds, nuts, fruits, and insects

Blue Jay birds are among the common bluebirds highly distributed in Virginia. These birds are related to the Corvidae family of passerine bird species.

Talking about their appearances, these blue jay birds have a blue feathered body with a black pattern on the wings and tails. They have black chains or U-shaped collars around their neck and white faces with white breasts.

The distribution territory of these blue jay birds covers North America, including southern Canada, the United States, Florida, and Texas. They prefer arid pine forests and scrub areas for their habitats.

So, if you visit those habitats, you might have a high chance of seeing these jaybirds personally. However, remember that these species are mostly noisy and aggressive birds while protecting their nests and territories.

So, you need to be careful not to break their territories because if they see any predators or intruders, they will start screaming. By screaming, they try to divert their attention from them. 

As these Virginia blue jays are monogamous birds, they tend to remain with one partner throughout their lives.

They usually build their open cup nests around 10 to 33 feet above the ground. They are also very choosy about selecting their nesting sites; they mostly prefer rural or heavily deforested areas.

2. Barn Swallow 

  • Scientific name: Hirundo rustica 
  • Lifespan: around 4 years
  • Wingspan: 32 to 34.5 cm
  • Native to:  Europe, Asia, Africa, America 
  • Size: 2- 7 cm
  • Food or Diet: insects, flies, grasshoppers, dragonflies, beetles, wasps,  wild bees, ants, etc.

The Barn swallow bird is another Virginia bluebird, which is the subspecies of the swallow family. These bluebirds are visible in Virginia, Europe, Asia, Africa, and America.

To recognize these birds physically, you will notice that their upper parts have deep blue plumage. Besides, their breasts and belly parts (lower abdomen part) are white.

Their faces, chins, and throats are red, and their beaks are black. If you see short-tailed birds in their colonies, you can easily guess that those are the female barn swallows.

Female swallow birds look similar except for their tails, which are comparatively shorter than male birds’. These swallow species are fond of low vegetation, open country, and farmlands with nearby water.

You can visit these birds between February to September during their breeding season. Male birds tend to reach their breeding area and find their nesting spot before female birds come there.

Later when female swallows arrive, they perform circling flight and sing to attract the females. Male and female both defend their nests and their territory.

Male become more aggressive towards their territory. After the breeding season, female birds lay 2 to 7 eggs and incubate around 14 to 19 days.

3.  Cliff Swallow 

  • Scientific name: Petrochelidon pyrrhonota
  • Lifespan: around 11 years
  • Wingspan: 11 to 13 inches 
  • Native to: North American coast
  • Size: 13 cm
  • Food or Diet: flying insects, caterpillars, bees, butterflies, grasshoppers etc.

Cliff swallow birds are also identified as American swallows, which are small passerine birds in Virginia. These passerine birds of Virginia are mostly native to North American coastal areas.

These birds have dark brownish plumage which is covering their back and wings. They also have a white forehead and red-brownish cheeks. Besides, they have blue shoulders and blue head patches. 

Both males and females have similar appearances, so sometimes you can not differentiate between them. In winter seasons, these Virginia birds travel to South American countries like Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, etc.

These Virginia birds make gourd-shaped nests with mud. They hunt day and night as they are diurnal birds. They return to their nests before night. Generally, they don’t even go out during the monsoon and winter seasons because they know they will not get any prey.

4.  Belted Kingfisher

  • Scientific name: Megaceryle alcyon 
  • Lifespan:  around 14 years
  • Wingspan: 48 to 58 cm
  • Native to: North America 
  • Size: 48 to 58 cm
  • Food or Diet: small fish, including mammals, young birds, lizards

Belted Kingfisher is a medium to large watery Kingfisher that is native to North America. These species have crests on their heads, white collars, grayish-blue backs, and wings, along with white lower parts.

These Virginia bluebirds are largely across North America, including Canada and the United States. Later, these birds migrate from the northern parts of the country to the southern part of the United States, Mexico, and Central America.  

These Virginia-belted Kingfishers choose to permanently reside in the warmer parts of the country and leave the northern parts when the water starts to freeze.

Note that these birds are very rare in Colombia, Venezuela, and Guianas. Belted kingfishers mostly perch from trees, posts, or other suitable watching points before hunting their prey.

Their nests are basically long tunnels or often slope uphill. In the nests, the female birds lay 5 to 8 eggs, and both parents share their parental duties.

5.  Indigo Bunting 

  • Scientific name: Passerina cyanea 
  • Lifespan: around 2 to 3 years 
  • Wingspan: 18 to 23 cm
  • Native to: Canada, Florida, South America 
  • Size: 11 to 15 cm
  • Food or Diet: insects, berries, caterpillars,  spiders, grasshoppers etc 

Indigo Buntings are another small seed-eating bird that is related to the passerine family of the Cardinal’s ancestors in Virginia.  You can also spot these beautiful birds in Southern Canada, Florida, South America, and Mexico, apart from Virginia state.

These bunting birds are mostly partial to Southern Canada, Florida, Texas, and Nevada during their breeding season.

However, you can find them in the winter season in Southern Florida, central Mexico, West Indies, Central America, and South America as they migrate to those regions during the winter seasons. Besides, Indigo birds tend to inhabit open forests, woodlands, and farmlands.

These birds only prefer to travel or migrate during the night. With the help of the stars, they navigate their location. They don’t depend on one particular or individual star to navigate. Rather, they choose the groups of stars to navigate.

You might also find these Indigo birds by communicating through their vocalization. They use high-pitched sounds or buzzing sounds to mark their territory and attract mates during breeding seasons. 

6. Purple Martin 

  • Scientific name: Progne subis 
  • Lifespan: 1 to 2 years; max 13 years
  • Wingspan: 39 to 41 cm
  • Native to: North America 
  • Size: 20 cm  
  • Food or Diet: insects, mosquitoes, ants, etc.

Purple Martins are small, glossy steel blue-sheen passerine birds related to the swallow family. These birds’ dark, bluish features give their plumage a sheen, deep navy blue shine.

These birds are common in Virginia state including North America, British Columbia, and Mexico. Later, you may spot them in Bolivia,  Peru and Brazil in the winter season.

These birds are likelier to choose open areas and wooded places for their habitats. They often like artificial nests or man-made nests for their nesting season.

You can attract these purple Martin birds by offering them nests made from man-made structures. Sometimes, they also use old cavities made by woodpeckers.

Male birds arrive before the female birds and make the territories during their breeding season. Female birds lay one egg at a time and incubate for fifteen to sixteen days.

This species can survive up to 1 or 2 years. However, one individual bird can survive for around 13 years. They are famous for their flight agility and rapid flapping pattern as they can dive from the sky with a high speed. 

7. Little Blue Heron 

  • Scientific name: Egretta caerulea
  • Lifespan:  13 years 11 months (Around 14 years)
  • Wingspan:  39 to 41 cm
  • Native to: America, United States,  South America 
  • Size: 22 to 29 inches 
  • Food or Diet: fish, insects, shrimps, amphibians, etc.

Little blue herons are other bluebirds widely seen in Virginia state, as well as in the United States, South America, Canada, Central America, Mexico, Cuba, Colombia, and Venezuela regions.

You can easily spot these beautiful birds by their appearance. These Virginia bluebirds have ashy blue bodies with purple-maroon heads and long beaks. Their feet and legs are black.

They apply unique hunting skills to hunt. They choose to stand still on the water’s surface and wait for the prey to hunt them.

They avoid chasing and catching the prey. They gradually walk for the fish or prey, move slower to their target, and then grab the prey with their bills.

You can also find them nesting in colonies as they are colonial nesters. Both male and female herons incubate the eggs in the clutch.

8. Tree Swallow 

  • Scientific name: Tachycineta 3
  • Lifespan: about 2.7 years
  • Wingspan: 30 to 35 cm
  • Native to: America 
  • Size: 12 to 14 cm
  • Food or Diet: insects, mollusks, spiders, fruits, flies, etc.

Tree swallow birds are other small migratory birds that are very common in Virginia.  Apart from this state, they are also very common in most of America, including North America, New Mexico, California, Central Alaska, and Canada.

However, their specific breeding region is North America, and later, they travel to Canada and Alaska. So, if you visit North America during their breeding seasons, you may capture these birds inhabiting open and wooded areas, especially near watery places.

These Virginia bluebirds build their nests in pre-made holes or cavities in a tree or artificially structured nests. Moreover, Virginia’s tree swallow birds can fly around 160 feet above the ground and can glide and flap in the sky, making their flight effortless.

Although their average life cycle lasts about 2.7 years, one bird can survive up to 12 years.

9. Blue Grosbeak 

  • Scientific name: Passerina caerulea
  • Lifespan: 7 years 
  • Wingspan: 26 to 29 cm
  • Native to: North America 
  • Size: 14 to 19 cm
  • Food or Diet: insects, snails, seeds, grains, and wild fruits

Blue grosbeaks are another small passerine bird that is related to the cardinal’s family. Talking about their physical appearances, the male grosbeak birds are deep blue with two brown wing bars on the back.

Similarly, Female grosbeaks are mostly covered with brown plumage over their body. Although I have seen them in Virginia, they are still local to Central America, Northern Mexico, and the Southern United States.

If you want to see this bird’s habitat, you may visit scattered trees, riparian woodlands, scrub, thickets, cultivated lands, and overgrown fields.

Indiana bluebirds usually build their nests in low tree or bush areas, approximately 1-2.5 meters above the ground.

10. Black-Throated Blue Warbler

  • Scientific name:  Setophaga caerulescens 
  • Lifespan: around 9 years
  • Wingspan: 19 to 20 cm
  • Native to: North America 
  • Size: 13 cm
  • Food or Diet: invertebrates, insects, caterpillars, crane flies, spiders

The black-throated blue warbler is a small-sized Passerine bird that is related to the New World warbler family in Virginia state. Their upper body is shining deep blue with a black face and white abdomen parts.

These birds are widely spotted in North America, including the Caribbean and Central America. Their habitats include deciduous forests, parks, and gardens. 

These birds generally prefer semi-open nesting, which is not very high; rather, they build their nests very close to the ground surface.

Further, you may visit North America between May and July if you want to spot birds during their breeding seasons. During their breeding seasons, birds sing a song to attract mates.

These species are largely increasing worldwide, and the IUCN declared them the least concern species in 2012.

11. Eastern Bluebird 

  • Scientific name: Sialia sialis 
  • Lifespan: 6 to 10 years
  • Wingspan: 9.8 to 12.6 cm
  • Native to: North America 
  • Size: 16 to 21 cm
  • Food or Diet: insects, invertebrates, fruits, berries, beetles, earthworms etc.

Eastern bluebirds are small blue birds in Virginia state, which are mostly local in North America, including Canada, Gulf states, and Arizona. These Virginia birds’ upper bodies are bright blue with orange breasts and slightly white bellies.

You may find this beautiful species in open areas, frequently burned pine savannas and open woods. Eastern bluebirds are very social birds and prefer to stay in large flocks with a maximum group of a hundred birds.

They also protect their territories throughout their breeding season. After breeding seasons, male and female eastern bluebirds raise their young and care for them together by sharing their responsibilities.

However, Virginia’s female bluebirds build the nests within 10 days and incubate the eggs about 13 to 16 days after laying the eggs. The young leave their nests within 15 to 20 days after hatching.

12.  Cerulean Warbler 

  • Scientific name: Setophaga cerulea 
  • Lifespan: about 6 years
  • Wingspan: around 20 cm
  • Native to: Eastern North America 
  • Size: around 11 cm
  • Food or Diet: insects,  fruits, and flowers 

Cerulean warblers are small songbirds in Virginia City’s Parulidae family. Their whole body is covered in sheen sky blue plumage on the back and white plumage on the chests and belly.

Although they are found in Virginia, they are mostly distributed in Eastern North America. These blue species prefer hardwood and deciduous forests for their habitats. 

There is a high chance of seeing these birds in their habitats. They build their nests often in high places, about 98 feet above the ground. 

Usually, you will notice male birds singing a whisper song. Later, the females respond to their singing with a call. Sometimes, female birds attack other females to destroy their nests and eggs during breeding and nesting seasons.

Gradually, Male and female birds build their nests together and choose their nesting sites. As migratory birds, they travel long distances during their migration period, covering the Midwest and Northwest states in the spring and summer.

13. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 

  • Scientific name: Polioptila caerulea 
  • Lifespan: around 4 years
  • Wingspan: 16 cm
  • Native to: North America 
  • Size: 10 to 13 cm
  • Food or Diet: insects, eggs, spiders etc

Blue-gray gnatcatchers are small songbirds that are widely distributed in the North American region, including Virginia state. In terms of physical description, their upper bodies are sky blue and gray, with black faces.

Additionally, they have grayish-white lower parts and white eye rings.  These species prefer wooded areas, shrublands, and deciduous forests, including Eastern and Southwestern United States and Mexico, for their habitats.

Later, they traveled or migrated to the Southern United States, Mexico, northern Central America, Cuba, and the Bahamas.

They make sounds and noises during their breeding seasons to attract their mates. In Virginia state, these bluebirds forage in low vegetation and sometimes hunt their prey while flying in a flight position.

Both male and female warblers share their parental duties and feed their young. Females incubate for 10 to 15 days. 


To sum up, Virginia became the home of these bluebirds because of its diverse ecosystems, balanced nutritional sources, and secure breeding and nesting sites.

Although these bluebirds are very rare, Virginia and other states like Illinois and Indiana are heavenly places for our avian bluebirds to live and survive throughout nature with their adaptability. 

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