Discover 12 Blue Birds in Florida

Written by Niccoy Walker
Updated: July 10, 2023
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Florida is a popular spot for wintering birds, as it provides warm weather year-round. You can find many unique species in Florida that you may not find in the rest of the country. Check out this list of the 12 most common blue birds in Florida and discover their habitat, diet, behavior, and how to identify them.

Infographic of 12 Blue Birds in Maryland
The blue-headed vireo, great blue heron, and blue jay are among the blue birds in Maryland.

1. Florida Scrub Jay

Florida scrub jay

The Florida scrub jay’s neck, wings, and tail are blue, and its belly and back are grayish white. 

©Tommy Daynjer/Shutterstock.com

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Habitat: The Florida scrub jay lives nowhere in the world outside of Central Florida. And they live only in Florida scrublands, where they rarely wander away from their little scrub patches.

Appearance: These birds are large and slender with long tails and heavy bills. Their necks, wings, and tails are blue, and their bellies and backs are grayish white. 

Diet: They eat insects, acorns, berries, snakes, mice, and lizards.

Behavior: They forage in flocks on the ground or in trees and have a complex social system.

2. Blue-Headed Vireo

blue-headed vireo

Small and stocky, this vireo has a bluish-gray head, hooked bill, and thick legs.

©iStock.com/mirceax

Habitat: The blue-headed vireo is an eastern bird of the United States and Canada, and it spends its winters throughout Florida. You can find them in many forest and woodland habitats, including parks and swamps.

Appearance: Small and stocky, this vireo has a hooked bill and thick legs. They have bluish-gray heads, green upperparts, and white underparts. Their wings and tails are streaked black and white.

Diet: These birds consume insects, larvae, spiders, snails, and small fruits.

Behavior: This species diligently forages in the upper trees, looking at the undersides of leaves and twigs. 

3. Painted Bunting

Birds with red chests: Painted Bunting

The painted bunting’s plumage is a mixture of blue, green, and red.

©iStock.com/passion4nature

Habitat: The painted bunting breeds along the northeast Florida coast, migrates through Central Florida, and winters in the southern tip. You will find them in woodland edges, roadsides, towns, and gardens.

Appearance: These medium-sized birds are beautifully colored. Their plumage is a mixture of blue, green, and red.

Diet: Seeds and insects are their favorite foods.

Behavior: These secretive birds stay in dense cover, foraging on the ground and occasionally in mixed flocks.

4. Common Gallinule

common gallinule

The common gallinule’s coloring is bluish gray to charcoal gray, with bright red forehead shields and green legs.

©iStock.com/Sander Meertins

Habitat: You can find common gallinules primarily in the Southeastern United States, where they live year-round in Florida. They inhabit freshwater marshes and reedy ponds.

Appearance: These medium-sized marsh birds have thin necks, and long legs and toes. Their coloring is bluish gray to charcoal gray. They feature bright red forehead shields and green legs.

Diet: Plant matter, insects, snails, and seeds make up their diet.

Behavior: They are highly adaptable and common in the southeastern marshes. Look for them foraging while swimming or walking through marsh vegetation.

5. Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron fishing in the low lake waters.

Great blue herons are found in marshes, swamps, shores, coastal bay, and tide flats.

©Joseph Scott Photography/Shutterstock.com

Habitat: The great blue heron lives year-round throughout most of the United States, including Florida. They are aquatic birds found in marshes, swamps, shores, coastal bay, and tide flats.

Appearance: Largest of the North American herons, the great blue has long legs, a long (S-curved) neck, and a thick, pointed bill. They are bluish-gray all over with a long black stripe over their eye.

Diet: They prefer fish, amphibians, reptiles, small mammals, birds, and insects.

Behavior: They stand silently in shallow water, waiting for prey to swim near, before thrusting their dagger-like bills into the water.

6. Tree Swallow

Tree Swallow, Tachycineta bicolor, sitting on a branch.

The

tree swallow

has shiny bluish-green plumage.

©Elliotte Rusty Harold/Shutterstock.com

Habitat: The tree swallow is abundant in North America, where it lives in Florida during the winter. They like open country areas near water, such as meadows, lakes, and marshes.

Appearance: These small songbirds have streamlined bodies and feature shiny bluish-green plumage above and white below with dark brown wings and tails.

Diet: Insects and berries form their diet.

Behavior: They fly low over water and fields, snatching prey from the surface in mid-air.

7. Little Blue Heron

Beautiful hues of plumage in Little Blue Heron portrait

The little blue herons resemble snowy egrets and have long legs and slender necks.

©iStock.com/Florence and Joseph McGinn

Habitat: The little blue heron lives in the Southeastern United States, where it stays year-round in Florida. They are primarily found in freshwater habitats, such as marshes, rice fields, swamps, and ponds.

Appearance: They resemble snowy egrets and feature long legs and slender necks. Adults are dark bluish-gray and maroon.

Diet: They love to eat fish, crustaceans, frogs, lizards, snakes, and turtles.

Behavior: They are methodical foragers. You can find them walking slowly in shallow water, waiting for their prey to pass.

8. Purple Martin

Birds that eat bees: Purple Martin

Male purple martins are shiny dark bluish-purple and have brownish-black wings and tails.

©iStock.com/Jeff Huth

Habitat: The purple martin breeds across the Eastern United States. You can find this species all over Florida in many common areas, like farms and towns. You can also find them in woodland edges and lowland deserts.

Appearance: These birds are very large swallows with broad chests, long wings, and forked tails. Males are shiny dark bluish-purple and feature brownish-black wings and tails.

Diet: These birds eat flies, dragonflies, beetles, crickets, grasshoppers, and butterflies.

Behavior: Graceful fliers, the purple martins forage by flying low and snatching prey mid-air.

9. Eastern Bluebird

Male Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis) on a perch with a green background

Eastern bluebirds’ plumage is blue above and white below, with rusty red breasts and throats.

©Steve Byland/Shutterstock.com

Habitat: Eastern bluebirds live year-round throughout Florida, except for the very southern tip. They inhabit open countries with scattered clusters of trees, like farms and forest clearings.

Appearance: This species is small, plump, and alert in posture. They have long wings and short tails and their plumage is blue above and white below. Additionally, they have rusty red breasts and throats.

Diet: Beetles, crickets, caterpillars, grasshoppers, spiders, and berries comprise their diet.

Behavior: They perch in low branches and observe their surroundings before fluttering to the ground to forage.

10. Blue Jay

Blue Jay on Eastern Redbud, side view

Blue jays can be found in many areas including towns, gardens, groves, and woods.

©Tom Reichner/Shutterstock.com

Habitat: Blue jays live year-round in the Eastern United States, including Florida. These loud birds inhabit many areas, such as towns, gardens, groves, and woods.

Appearance: They are large songbirds with various blue shades, white, and black patterns above and white below. They also have light blue crests.

Diet: They’ll eat insects, nuts, seeds, and grains.

Behavior: They forage on the ground, in shrubs, and in trees. They are also common birds at backyard feeders.

11. Belted Kingfisher

Belted kingfisher

The belted

kingfisher

will watch from a perch above water before diving for fish and crustaceans.

©Harry Collins Photography/Shutterstock.com

Habitat: The belted kingfisher is abundant across North America. They live year-round in Northern Florida and winter in Southern Florida. These birds are associated with most water habitats, like lakes, streams, bays, and coasts.

Appearance: Large and stocky, the belted kingfisher has a shaggy crest and a thick bill. They are bluish-gray on the head and back and white below, with patches of chestnut on the sides.

Diet: They prefer fish, crustaceans, amphibians, small mammals, and reptiles.

Behavior: These birds watch from a perch above water before diving head-first to catch prey. They have a loud rattling call that helps distinguish them from other birds.

12. Common Grackle

Common Grackle

Common grackles are long and lanky, featuring iridescent plumage.

©JoshCW Photo/Shutterstock.com

Habitat: Another bird of the eastern half of the United States, the common grackle lives year-round in Florida. You can find them throughout the state in farms, towns, pastures, and suburban yards.

Appearance: They are long and lanky, featuring iridescent plumage. Their heads are blue and green, and their bodies are bronze.

Diet: These birds consumer seeds, grains, insects, and spiders.

Behavior: You will find them wading in shallow water or walking on the ground looking for food. They typically forage in groups and will occasionally steal food from other species.

Summary of 12 Blue Birds in Maryland

Here’s a recap of a dozen birds with blue coloring that can be found in Maryland.

NumberBird SpeciesRangeColoring
1Florida Scrub JayCentral FloridaNecks, wings, and tails are blue; bellies and backs are grayish white
2Blue-Headed VireoUnited States and Canada; spends winters in FloridaBluish-gray heads, green upper parts, white underparts; wings and tails are streaked black and white
3Painted BuntingBreeds along the northeast Florida coast, migrates through Central Florida, winters in the southern tipPlumage is a mixture of blue, green, and red
4Common GallinulePrimarily in the Southeastern U.S.; lives year-round in FloridaBluish gray to charcoal gray; bright red forehead shields and green legs
5Great Blue HeronYear-round throughout most of the U.S., including FloridaBluish-gray all over with a long black stripe over its eye
6Tree SwallowAbundant in North America; in Florida during the winterShiny bluish-green plumage above and white below with dark brown wings and tails
7Little Blue HeronSoutheastern United States; lives year-round in FloridaDark bluish-gray and maroon
8Purple MartinBreeds across the Eastern U.S. including all over FloridaMales are shiny dark bluish-purple and feature brownish-black wings and tails.
9Eastern BluebirdLive year-round throughout Florida, except for the very southern tipPlumage is blue above and white below; rusty red breasts and throats
10Blue JayLive year-round in the Eastern U.S., including FloridaVarious blue shades, white, and black patterns above and white below; light blue crests
11Belted KingfisherAbundant across North America; live year-round in northern Florida and winter in southern FloridaBluish-gray on the head and back and white below, with patches of chestnut on the sides
12Common GrackleEastern half of the U.S.; lives year-round in FloridaIridescent plumage; heads are blue and green; bronze bodies

The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/Rini Kools


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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 Metropolitan State University in Denver. A resident of Florida, Niccoy enjoys hiking, cooking, reading, and spending time at the beach.

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