AskDefine | Define bluebird

Dictionary Definition



1 fruit-eating mostly brilliant blue songbird of the East Indies [syn: fairy bluebird]
2 blue North American songbird

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. Any of various North American birds of the genus Sialia in the thrush family. Their plumage is blue or blue and red.


Spanish: azulejo

Extensive Definition

The bluebirds are medium-sized, mostly insectivorous or omnivorous birds in the genus Sialia of the thrush family Turdidae.
These are one of the relatively few thrush genera to be restricted to the Americas. As the name implies, these are attractive birds with blue, or blue and red, plumage. Female birds are less brightly colored than males, although color patterns are similar and there is no noticeable difference in size between sexes.


Bluebirds are territorial, prefer open grassland with scattered trees and are cavity nesters (similar to many species of woodpecker). Bluebirds can typically produce between two to four broods during the spring and summer (March through August in the Northeastern United States). Males identify potential nest sites and try to attract prospective female mates to those nesting sites with special behaviors that include singing and flapping wings, and then placing some material in a nesting box or cavity. If the female accepts the male and the nesting site, she alone builds the nest and incubates the eggs.
Predators of young bluebirds in the nests can include snakes, cats and raccoons. Non-native bird species competing with bluebirds for nesting locations include the Common Starling and House Sparrow, both of which kill adult bluebirds sitting on their nests along with the young and eggs in order to claim the nesting site.
Bluebirds are attracted to platform bird feeders, filled with grubs of the darkling beetle, sold by many online bird product wholesalers as mealworms. Bluebirds will also eat raisins soaked in water. In addition, in winter bluebirds use backyard heated birdbaths.
By the 1970s, bluebird numbers had declined by estimates ranging to 70% due to unsuccessful competition with house sparrows and starlings, both introduced species, for nesting cavities, coupled with a decline in habitat. However, in late 2005 Cornell University's Lab of Ornithology reported bluebird sightings at many locations in the southern U.S. as part of its yearly Backyard Bird Count, a strong indication of the bluebird's return to the region. This upsurge can largely be attributed to a movement of volunteers establishing and maintaining bluebird trails.

In Song

Bluebirds are featured in several songs. Al Jolson sang of Bluebirds in "April Showers". A "Sister Bluebird" is mentioned in the Yes song "Starship Trooper". Vera Lynn famously proclaimed that there would be "Bluebirds Over The White Cliffs Of Dover" in her popular war-time melody. But perhaps the artist most associated with the bluebird is Judy Garland. Her immortal "Over the Rainbow" from the equally legendary The Wizard of Oz, proclaimed her belief that "If happy little bluebirds fly above the rainbow, why oh why can't I". A few years later in the movie Ziegfeld Girl she admitted in the song "I'm Always Chasing Rainbows" that she was "waiting to find a little bluebird in vain." Indeed one of the final songs Garland sang in a movie was "Hello Bluebird" from I Could Go On Singing. Also in the 1934 famous Christmas Song "Winter Wonderland" (eg performed by the Andrew Sisters) the bluebird at least appears as "being gone", suggesting that this bird is indeed a migrating one. The song "How Long", recorded by The Eagles on their Long Road Out of Eden album, refers to a "Bluebird with its heart removed". The song "Ramble On" by Led Zeppelin, recorded on their Led Zeppelin II album, ends with the words "I can't find my bluebird. I'd listen to my bluebird sing, but I can't find my bluebird". Bluebirds are also mentioned in two Disney songs from different features. In the film Alice in Wonderland Alice makes mention of bluebirds while singing "In a World of My Own" when she sings "everyone would have a dozen blue birds." The other reference made appears in Disney's Song of the South in the line "Mr. Bluebird on my shoulder" from the song titled "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah." The the 1977 Disney film The Rescuers, the character Rufus the Cat comforts an orphan named Penny by reciting a poem entitled "Faith Is A Bluebird."


External links

commons Sialia
bluebird in German: Hüttensänger
bluebird in French: Merlebleu
bluebird in Latin: Sialia
bluebird in Lithuanian: Mėlynieji strazdai
bluebird in Finnish: Sinikat
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