All Types Of Blue Birds in Pennsylvania

Written by Niccoy Walker
Published: December 30, 2022
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Common blue birds often come in the form of passerines that like to visit backyards. Do you have a songbird perched outside of your window? Or do you need help attracting a specific bird to your feeder? Check out all the types of blue birds in Pennsylvania and discover where they live, what they eat, how they sound, and how to identify them.

Eastern Bluebird

Happiest Animals: Bluebird

A bluebird can spot caterpillars and insects in tall grass at the remarkable distance of over 50 yards.

©Bonnie Taylor Barry/

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Habitat: Eastern bluebirds are widespread, living year-round in the far eastern parts of Pennsylvania and breeding throughout the rest of the state. They live in open country like farms, clearings, roadsides, and pine woods.

Appearance: They are small and plump with round heads, large eyes, and short tails. Males have bright blue heads, backs, wings, rusty brown undersides, and throats.

Diet: Insects, berries, lizards, and tree frogs

Calls: Musical “turalee” and “chit” calls

Backyard Tip: Provide a nest box and mealworms

Blue Jay

Blue Jay on Eastern Redbud, side view

Blue Jays live in oak and pine woods.

©Tom Reichner/

Habitat: Blue jays live in oak and pine woods, suburbs, towns, groves, and local gardens. They live year-round throughout Pennsylvania and the eastern half of the United States.

Appearance: These large songbirds have crests and broad tails. Blue jays are various shades of blue from deep to sky above mixed with black and white. They are grayish below.

Diet: Acorns, nuts, seeds, grains, insects, rodents, frogs, baby birds, and carrion

Calls: Harsh cries and nasal notes

Backyard Tip: Provide sunflower seeds, suet, and peanuts in a tray feeder

Belted Kingfisher

Belted kingfisher

Belted kingfishers inhabit various aquatic habitats, like lakes and bays.

©Harry Collins Photography/

Habitat: Belted kingfishers live year-round throughout Pennsylvania and most of the United States. These birds are associated with many water habitats, such as streams, lakes, bays, and coasts.

Appearance: stocky and large-headed, the belted kingfisher has a shaggy crest, short legs, and a straight bill. They have bluish-gray plumage on their heads and backs with white on their undersides and around their necks.

Diet: Small fish, aquatic insects, frogs, small mammals, lizards, and young birds

Calls: Loud rattles and scream calls

Backyard Tip: They don’t typically visit feeders but may stop by a pond or pool.

Barn Swallow

Two Barn Swallows (Hirundo rustica) sitting on a branch.

The barn swallow spends springs and summers in Pennsylvania.


Habitat: This familiar rural bird spends its springs and summers throughout the United States, including Pennsylvania. Look for them in semi-open lands, like farms, fields, marshes, and towns.

Appearance: These cone-shaped birds have flat heads, broad shoulders, and pointed wings. They have deep steely blue backs, wings, and tails with cinnamon-colored underparts.

Diet: Insects, spiders, snails, seeds, and berries

Calls: Constant twittering and chattering

Backyard Tip: Place ground-up eggshells on a platform feeder

Black-throated Blue Warbler

Black-throated Blue Warbler, Blue, Grand Bend, Ontario - Canada, Warbler

You can find the black-throated blue warbler in much of the state during spring and summer.


Habitat: They live in the interior of mixed forests and breed in dense undergrowth. You can find them in much of the state during spring and summer, with some populations only passing through during migration.

Appearance: These small, compact birds have pointed bills and plump bodies. They are dark blue above and white below with black faces and throats.

Diet: Insects, seeds, small fruits, berries, and flower nectar

Calls: Husky “zwee” songs

Backyard Tip: This species does not typically come to backyards.

Indigo Bunting

A brilliant blue male, left Fram, and a dull brown female, right frame, pair of indigo buntings, perched facing each other, on a leafless limb, in natural setting. Birds are a bit puffy, which would imply that he weather is cool or cold.

Stocky and small, the indigo bunting has a short, thick bill and rounded wings.

©Bonnie Taylor Barry/

Habitat: The indigo bunting breeds in the eastern half of the United States, including Pennsylvania. It inhabits brushy areas in pastures, wood edges, and roadsides.

Appearance: Stocky and small, the indigo bunting has a short, thick bill and rounded wings. They are a vibrant blue color all over, with a darker head and a silver beak.

Diet: Seeds, insects, spiders, and berries

Calls: Rapid warbles and “zeep” calls

Backyard Tip: Provide thistle, nyjer, and live mealworms

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (Polioptila caerulea) perched on a branch. The bird has a cap of deep blue feathers on its head.

The blue-gray gnatcatcher has a cap of deep blue feathers on its head.


Habitat: The blue-gray gnatcatcher is another summer bird you can find throughout Pennsylvania during the breeding season. They live in open woods, thickets, and deciduous forests.

Appearance: These tiny birds have long legs, long tails, and thin bills. They have light bluish-gray upper parts, white underparts, and black tails.

Diet: Insects and spiders

Calls: Thin warbles and whining calls

Backyard Tip: These birds do not typically visit backyards.

Purple Martin

Purple Martin

Purple martins have an average wingspan of 15 inches and a length of 7.9 inches.


Habitat: Purple martins breed throughout Pennsylvania and the rest of the eastern United States. You can find them in towns, farms, mountain forests, and any semi-open areas near water.

Appearance: They are very large swallows with broad chests, hooked bills, and forked tails. They are dark iridescent bluish-purple with brownish-black tails and wings.

Diet: Flying insects, true bugs, and spiders

Calls: Gurgling warbles and “chew” calls

Backyard Tip: Provide crushed eggshells for grit

Tree Swallow

Tree Swallow on Branch with American Dogwood Flower

Tree Swallows lives in open country near water.

©Tom Reichner/

Habitat: Another Pennsylvania breeder, the tree swallow lives in open country near water, such as lakes, marshes, and meadows.

Appearance: They have streamlined bodies with pointed wings and notched tails. Adult males are bluish-green above and white below with dark brown wings and tails.

Diet: Insects, berries, and seeds

Calls: Cheerful twitters

Backyard Tip: Plant berry bushes and provide eggshells

Cerulean Warbler

cerulean warbler

The cerulean warbler breeds in mature hardwoods along streams.


Habitat: Cerulean warblers live in river valleys in deciduous forests, and they breed in mature hardwoods along streams. You can occasionally find this species during spring and summer in Pennsylvania.

Appearance: A small, compact bird, the cerulean warbler has round bills and short tails. Males are cerulean blue above and white below with white wingbars and dark streaking.

Diet: Primarily insects

Calls: Short buzzy notes

Backyard Tip: This species is not common in backyards.

White-breasted Nuthatch

The white-breasted nuthatch is a permanent resident in Pennsylvania.

©Brian Lasenby/

Habitat: The white-breasted nuthatch is a permanent resident throughout most of the United States, including Pennsylvania. You can find them in woodlots, forests, and groves.

Appearance: This large nuthatch has a round head, a short tail, and a long bill. They have grayish-blue backs, white faces and underparts, and black caps.  

Diet: Insects and seeds

Calls: Low whistles and nasal “yank-yank”

Backyard Tip: Provide a nest box and place sunflower seeds, suet, and peanuts in a feeder

Red-breasted Nuthatch

Birds that look like robins: Red-breasted Nuthatch

People often mistake nuthatches for woodpeckers because of their long, pointed beaks and their foraging behavior.

© Leonard Photography

Habitat: The red-breasted nuthatch lives year-round in the central portions of Pennsylvania and winters in the far east and west. Look for them in mature coniferous forests and other wooded habitats.

Appearance: These birds are small and compact, with pointed bills, short tails, and barrel chests. They are bluish-gray above, rusty brown below, and feature black and white heads.

Diet: Insects and seeds

Calls: Rapid calls and tinny “yank-yank”

Backyard Tip: Put up a nest box to attract breeding pairs

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) at Fort Myers Beach, Florida.

Great Blue Herons live in marshes, shores, and swamps.

©Brian Lasenby/

Habitat: The great blue heron lives permanently in the far eastern areas of Pennsylvania. But breeding populations inhabit the rest of the state during spring and summer. You can find them in marshes, shores, swamps, and tidal flats.

Appearance: It is the largest North American heron, featuring long legs, long, curved necks, and thick bills. They have bluish-gray plumage with yellow beaks and black stripes across their eyes.

Diet: Fish, frogs, turtles, snakes, rodents, and birds

Calls: Harsh squawks

Backyard Tip: These birds don’t typically visit backyards unless you have a pond.

Common Grackle

Common Grackle

The common grackle is a New World blackbird, measuring 11 to 13 inches and weighing 2.6 to 5 ounces, with a 14 to 18-inch wingspan.

©Kendall Collett/

Habitat: They live year-round throughout most of the state, except for small breeding populations in the interior. You can find them in farmlands, towns, streamsides, and other common areas.

Appearance: The common grackle is a large, lanky bird featuring iridescent bronze bodies and bluish-purple heads.

Diet: Insects, spiders, frogs, lizards, eggs, and small rodents

Calls: Clucks and high-pitched screeches

Backyard Tip: Spread mixed grains and seeds on the ground

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The photo featured at the top of this post is © John L. Absher/

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About the Author

Niccoy is a professional writer for A-Z Animals and her primary focus is on birds, travel, and interesting facts of all kinds. Niccoy has been writing and researching about travel, nature, wildlife, and business for several years and holds a business degree from Florida State College. A resident of Florida, Niccoy enjoys hiking, cooking, reading, and spending time at the beach.

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