Sialia sialis Linnaeus, 1758. OTHER COMMON NAMES
French: Merlebleu de l'est; German: Rotkehl-Huttensanger; Spanish: Azulejo.
7.1 in (18 cm); 1.1 oz (31 g). Males have bright blue upperparts; reddish brown chin, throat, breast, sides, and flanks; and a white belly and undertail coverts. Females have gray upperparts; blue wings, rump, and tail; and paler chestnut where the male is reddish brown. Juveniles have gray-brown upperparts with white spotting on the back, a brownish chest with white scalloping, bluish tail and wings, and white belly and undertail coverts.
Eastern North America, north to Hudson Bay, west to Arizona, south to Bermuda, Florida, and Mexico.
Open woodland, farmland with scattered trees, orchards, gardens with trees and shrubberies.
In pairs or family groups, perching upright on exposed branch or post or tree top. Gregarious in winter, often forming large flocks and roosting communally.
FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET
Feeds largely on small insects from ground, foliage, or caught in the air; also eats fruits and berries.
Nests in tree hole or hollow branch, increasingly in artificial nest boxes; nest constructed of grass, weeds, pine needles, and twigs by the female; three to seven eggs; incubation 12-14 days; chicks fledge after 15-19 days; two or three broods.
Not threatened. Decreased by up to 90% in twentieth century after competition for nest holes from introduced house sparrows and starlings; increased locally after nest box provision became popular.
SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦
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