Painted Bunting (Passerina ciris). Photo: public domain, fws.gov

Identifying Birds by Color: Blue (A Photo Gallery)

 

 

Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea)

Identifying birds by color can be helpful during the upcoming spring migration and breeding season. Birds go through two molts per year.

The first happens in late summer-fall when the brighter breeding plumage is replaced by the drab basic plumage. The birds will wear this basic plumage through the fall, migration, and winter seasons.

The second molt is before the spring breeding season. The basic drab plumage is replaced with brighter feathers, called the alternate plumage. This is where the males shine. The feathers of males can be very bright and colorful. The females, particularly the species that sit on open air nests, will be drabber in appearance. The drab appearance helps the birds camouflage themselves among leaves and trees.  

This photo gallery of blue-birds shows mostly male birds. Studying what the birds look like before the spring migration will give you a much more enjoyable birding season. 

Move your cursor over the photo to see the names of the birds. Click on the photo to see a larger photo. 

 

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