Sialia currucoides
(Mountain Bluebird)

Order: Passeriformes
Order Description: Passerines
Family: Turdidae
Family Description: Thrushes, Solitaires & Bluebirds

Idaho's State Bird:
The Mountain Bluebird (Sialia currucoides) was adopted as the state bird for Idaho by the state legislature in 1931.

Physical Description:
6 1/2-8" (17-20 cm). Male is bright blue, slightly paler below; dark bill, eyes, and legs. Female is dull blue above, has a reddish-brown throat, and buffClick word for definition below.

Similar Species- Other female bluebirds

Song is a soft, coarse, two-noted slur.

Breeds from central Alaska, east through portions of western Canada, and south in mountains to California, Nevada, northern Arizona, southern New Mexico, western Oklahoma, Colorado, and portions of Great Plains. Winters from southern British Columbia and western Montana, south to central Mexico and southern Texas, and east, at least casually, to eastern Kansas, western Oklahoma and central Texas.

Found in subalpine meadows, rangelands, open coniferous forests, and pinyon/juniper woodlands, usually at elevations above 1500 m. During winter and in migration, also found in grasslands, deserts, brushy areas, and agricultural lands. Idaho study found Mountain Bluebirds were more abundant on prescribed burn juniper stands than on old-growth or clearcut areas.

Primarily insectivorousClick word for definition. Feeds on beetles, ants, bees, wasps, caterpillars, grasshoppers, and other insects. Will also consume some berries and grapes.

Nests in previously used excavated cavities, preferably in standing snag or hollow tree. Hovers and drops to ground while foraging, or darts out from low perch to catch prey. Wyoming study recorded 6-7 bluebirds/16.2 ha. In Idaho, species has probably benefited from extensive nestbox placement.

Both sexes, but primarily female, incubateClick word for definition about 4-8 eggs (usually 5-6) for 13-14 days. Female sometimes produces 2 broods/yr. altricialClick word for definition young are tended by both parents, sometimes with assistance of young of first broodClick word for definition.

Element Code: ABPBJ15030
Status: Protected nongame species
Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S4,NTMB
National Rank: N5

Important State References:
McCoy, M. 1993. Breeding bird survey of clearcut, prescribed burn, and seral/old growth stands of western juniper. USDI Bur. Land Manage., Boise District, Challenge Cost Share Project Report, Boise. 19pp.

Design by Ean Harker©1999, 2000.
Written by Jason Karl, 2000.