Discover 12 Blue Birds in Michigan

Common Grackle
© Holly S. Cannon/Shutterstock.com

Written by Niccoy Walker

Updated: July 15, 2023

Share on:

Advertisement


Birding in Michigan is a popular pastime, and the state offers many opportunities, from national parks and trails to the Great Lakes Coastline. Whether you are a beginner birder or like to casually view birds at your feeder, this handy guide will help you identify blue birds in Michigan. Discover where they live, what they eat, and how they sound.

Infographic of 12 Blue Birds in Michigan
Beautiful birds found in Michigan feature shades of dark blue, bluish-gray, and deep steely blue.

1. Tree Swallow

Types of Birds that are Blue - Tree Swallow

The tree swallow’s plumage is bluish-green above and white below with brownish-black wings and tails.

©Tom Reichner/Shutterstock.com

Habitat: You can find tree swallows throughout Michigan during the breeding season in spring and summer. They live in open country areas near water, such as marshes, lakes, and meadows.

How to Identify: They are relatively small songbirds with long, pointed wings and notched tails. Their plumage is bluish-green above and white below with brownish-black wings and tails.

Diet: Insects, berries, and seeds.

Vocalizations: High-pitched chirps and gurgles.

Nest: A cup of grass placed in holes in dead trees.

2. Barn Swallow

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

Barn swallows breed throughout Canada and the United States, including Michigan.

©CezaryKorkosz/Shutterstock.com

Habitat: The barn swallow breeds throughout Canada and the United States, including Michigan. This species is common around human habitations, like parks, baseball fields, farms, and beaches.

How to Identify: It is slightly larger than the tree swallow and features a flat head, broad shoulders, and pointed wings. They are deep steely blue above with rufous-colored underparts.

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

Vocalizations: Twitter warbles and mechanical whirrs.

Nest: A cup of mud and dried grass under eaves or open buildings.

3. Purple Martin

Birds that eat bees: Purple Martin

The purple martin is an acrobatic hunter, capable of catching bees while in full dive.

©iStock.com/Jeff Huth

Habitat: The purple martin spends its springs and summers in the Great Lakes state and throughout the eastern half of the country. You can find them in towns, farms, mountain forests, and many other common semi-open areas.

How to Identify: Despite its name, purple martins are dark bluish-purple, and iridescent. Their wings and tails are brownish-black. They are large birds with broad chests, tapered wings, and forked tails.

Diet: Insects and spiders.

Vocalizations: Throaty chirps and rattles.

Nest: A cup made of leaves and grass placed in old woodpecker holes.

4. Indigo Bunting

A male indigo bunting perched up on bare branch against a green background. As it's name suggests, the bird is vivid blue.

Indigo buntings live in brushy pastures and wood wedges, where they eat seeds and insects.

©John L. Absher/Shutterstock.com

Habitat: Another breeding bird in Michigan, the indigo bunting inhabits the state during spring and summer. You can find them in brushy pastures, wood edges, and roadsides.

How to Identify: The male’s summer plumage is all blue, with the head darker than the body. It also features a silver beak and dark streaks on its wings and tail. They are relatively small and stocky with short, thick bills and round tails.

Diet: Seeds and insects.

Vocalizations: Clear, high-pitched notes and short “chip” calls.

Nest: Open grass cup in dense shrubs or trees.

5. Northern Parula

Northern Parula

The northern parula lives in forest canopies during summer and tropical plantations in the winter.

©Nattapong Assalee/Shutterstock.com

Habitat: Most northern parulas pass through Michigan during migration. But small groups breed near the Great Lakes. Look for them in humid woods, coniferous forests, and swamps.

How to Identify: These small warblers have short tails and thin bills. They are bluish-gray above and white below with bright yellow chests and throats and some black streaking on the wings.

Diet: Insects, spiders, larvae, and berries.

Vocalizations: Buzzy trills and sharp chips.

Nest: Small hanging pouch in tree lichens.

6. Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher

A close up of a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher. Its long tailfeathers contain both black and white feathers.

The blue-gray gnatcatcher is tiny, slim, and features light bluish-gray plumage and mostly black tails.

©iStock.com/JasonOndreicka

Habitat: You can find blue-gray gnatcatcher breeding populations in northern Michigan. Find them in open woods, deciduous forests, and thickets.

How to Identify: They are tiny and slim with long legs and long tails. These birds are pale bluish-gray with light gray to white underparts and mostly black tails.

Diet: Insects and spiders.

Vocalizations: Continuous sharp chips and nasal calls.

Nest: Open grass cup in a tree.

7. Blue Jay

Blue jay perched on branch with back to camera

Blue jays are large songbirds with crests and long tails. They live in towns and suburban gardens.

©iStock.com/BrianEKushner

Habitat: They live year-round in the eastern United States, including all over Michigan. You can find them in woodlands, groves, towns, suburbs, gardens, and many other areas near humans.

How to Identify: Blue jays are pretty large songbirds with crests and long, rounded tails. Their plumage is a mix of various shades of blue, black, and white.

Diet: Seeds, grains, nuts, berries, small fruits, insects, rodents, reptiles, baby birds, and carrion.

Vocalizations: Quiet clicks and loud jeers.

Nest: A bulky twig cup placed in the fork of a tree.

8. White-Breasted Nuthatch

White-breasted nuthatches are permanent residents in Michigan.

©Brian Lasenby/Shutterstock.com

Habitat: They are a permanent resident in Michigan and throughout most of the United States. They live in forests, woodlots, mature deciduous forests, and groves.

How to Identify: A small songbird with a large head, the white-breasted nuthatch has short tails and a long bill. They have bluish-gray backs, white undersides and throats, and black caps.

Diet: Insects and seeds.

Vocalizations: Rapid, nasal “wha-wha.”

Nest: A bark fiber cup in a tree cavity.

9. Black-Throated Blue Warbler

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

The black-throated blue warbler is well-proportioned and features dark blue, white, and black plumage.

©iStock.com/BrianLasenby

Habitat: The black-throated blue warbler migrates through the state and breeds in the northern tip near the Great Lakes. You can find them in the interior of mixed forests, where they like to breed in undisturbed areas.

How to Identify: These small, plump birds have well-proportioned bodies and pointed bills. Males are streaky dark blue above and white below with black throats and bills.

Diet: Insects, seeds, berries, and flower nectar.

Vocalizations: Slow-paced buzzy notes.

Nest: Open cup of bark in thick shrubs.

10. 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/Shutterstock.com

Habitat: As its name suggests, the eastern bluebird lives in the eastern half of the country, where it spends springs and summers in Michigan during the breeding season. You will find them in open country areas with scattered trees, like farms and forest clearings.

How to Identify: This small thrush has a large, round head with big eyes and short tails. Males are bright blue above, white underneath, and rusty brown on their chests.

Diet: Insects and berries.

Vocalizations: Low-pitched warbles and harsh chatters.

Nest: A weed cup placed in a tree cavity.

11. Belted Kingfisher

Belted kingfisher

Belted kingfishers live year-round in southern Michigan and spend springs and summers in the northern areas.

©Horse Crazy/Shutterstock.com

Habitat: The belted kingfisher lives year-round in southern Michigan and breeds in northern portions of the state. They live in many aquatic habitats, such as streams, lakes, bays, and coasts.

How to Identify: This stocky bird has a large head and a shaggy crest. They feature bluish-gray plumage on their heads, backs, and chests. Their necks and undersides are white with hints of brown.

Diet: Fish, frogs, aquatic insects, small mammals, and lizards.

Vocalizations: Mechanical rattles and harsh screams.

Nest: Tunnels in steep dirty banks.

12. Common Grackle

Common Grackle

The common grackle is undergoing a continuous decline in its population. It lives in Michigan in spring and summer.

©JoshCW Photo/Shutterstock.com

Habitat: The common grackle breeds throughout most of Michigan, but some populations live year-round in the far southern regions. Look for them in farms, towns, groves, and streamsides.

How to Identify: Large and lanky, the common grackle features long legs and long tails. They have shiny blue and green heads and iridescent bronze bodies.

Diet: Insects, fish, frogs, lizards, eggs, and small rodents.

Vocalizations: Squeaks, whistles, and croaks.

Nest: Bulky weed cup in dense tree branches.

Summary of 12 Blue Birds in Michigan

Here’s a recap of the dozen beautiful blue birds we looked at that can be found in Michigan.

NumberBird SpeciesColoringResidency
1Tree SwallowBluish-green, white, brownish-blackBreeds in Michigan in spring and summer
2Barn SwallowDeep steely blue, rufous-colored belowBreeds in Michigan
3Purple MartinIridescent, dark bluish-purple, brownish-blackIn Michigan in spring and summer
4Indigo BuntingMale’s summer plumage is blue; head is darker than bodyBreeds in Michigan in spring and summer
5Northern ParulaBluish-gray, white, bright yellow, blackPasses through Michigan during migration; small groups breed near the Great Lakes
6Blue-Gray GnatcatcherPale bluish-gray, light gray to white, blackBreeds in northern Michigan
7Blue JayVarious shades of blue, black, and whiteLives year-round in Michigan
8White-Breasted NuthatchBluish-gray, white, blackLives year-round in Michigan
9Black-Throated Blue WarblerMales are streaky dark blue, white, and black.Migrates through Michigan and breeds in the northern tip near the Great Lakes
10Eastern BluebirdBright blue, white, rusty brownBreeds in Michigan in spring and summer
11Belted KingfisherBluish-gray, white, hints of brownLives year-round in southern Michigan and breeds in northern portions of the state
12Common GrackleShiny blue, green, iridescent bronzeBreeds throughout most of Michigan, but some populations live year-round in the far southern regions


Share this post on:
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.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.