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Bird species use different building materials to create nests of various shapes and sizes. And the eggs they lay differ in shape, markings, colors, and size. These traits can help you identify the species even if the bird itself isn’t present. For instance, rock pigeons build their loose platform nests in nearly any sheltered location, and American robin’s eggs are a trademark blue color that many people can recognize.

By Melissa Mayntz Fact checked by Jillian Dara Bird species use different building materials to create nests of various shapes and sizes . Here’s how to identify some common bird species—including the house finch, northern mockingbird, mallard, black-capped chickadee, and more—by nest type and eggs. The eggs are approximately 0.75 inches long and are a creamy white with bold, thick blotches of lavender, brown, or gray. Josh Jensen / Getty Images American robin eggs are among the easiest to recognize with their pale or medium blue color that typically lacks markings. A northern mockingbird’s nest uses an array of unusual materials, including sticks, stems, and bits of fabric or string. AlbyDeTweede / Getty Images Male and female mute swans work together to build a flattish, mound-shaped nest of assorted plant materials that is sparsely lined with feathers and down. Unlike many birds, rock pigeons can breed at any time of year as long as there are sufficient resources for them to raise their young. Parent birds will often feign injuries to draw predators away from a nearby nest with its light-colored eggs that have black and brown splotches. jimkruger / Getty Images Because mallards are the most widespread duck in North America, they have learned to build nests nearly anywhere, including beneath shrubs, tucked into thickets, or even in planters and flowerbeds. Preferred locations are moderately concealed, and each nest is a shallow depression lined with assorted plant material, down, and feathers.

How do I know what kind of bird egg I have?

Size: Comparing the eggs to similar objects can help give an impression of size. ….Shape: Eggs come in many different shapes. ….Color: Different bird species lay different colors of eggs, ranging from pale and bland to bold, bright colors.

Is there an app to identify bird eggs?

Whether you monitor an extensive nest box trail or find a single nest in your yard—track nests, eggs, and baby birds with the new NestWatch app.

What kind of bird lays speckled eggs?

What Do House Sparrow Eggs Look Like? House sparrow eggs are small (approximately 0.6 inches in diameter) and range in color from white to gray or can sometimes have a greenish tint. Eggs will also have brown specks or spots. Sparrows typically lay eggs during the nesting period in early spring and summer.

What bird egg is brown speckled?

Chuck RipperBlack-Capped Chickadee Eggs. Chickadee eggs are white with small reddish-brown spots. The eggs of these cavity-nesting birds are rarely seen by most birders because the species does not usually choose artificial nest boxes.

Bird eggs range in colors and can be ornately maculated with spots, blotches and scrawls. They vary in shape and size, and they must be thick enough to withstand the weight of an incubating parent but thin enough to allow the embryo to break through and hatch. Other than heat and protection, all the resources needed for a chick to grow and mature are packaged up cleanly and tightly in the eggshell surrounding it. Learn to identify bird eggs and discover how egg color, size and incubation change from species to species.

Many eggs don’t make it to hatching because of the diverse predators, including squirrels, snakes and crows, that easily rob the robin clutch. Blue jays swiftly remove sharp eggshell fragments to protect their newly hatched brood from harm. Discarding shells also helps prevent both microbial infestations and pungent-smelling cues that might alert nest predators about the location of the clutch. In this jay’s family, only the female incubates the eggs, but both parents work to provision the hungry chicks upon hatching. The beige base color and brown spots of the Northern cardinal’s egg sharply contrast with the bright red plumage of the male parent. Perhaps because the female has a mix of more subdued reddish brown plumage, she is the sex responsible for incubating the eggs. The waxwing egg is a balance of a pale bluish gray and a suite of darker, delicate spotting patterns. Older birds often pair with previous partners, reusing and improving the preceding year’s nest to build an even bulkier and presumably safer site for incubating the eggs. Ospreys sometimes nest in loose colonies, where they observe and copy cues about from what location their neighbors might have brought in the latest catch to feed their young. The eggs of these cavity-nesting birds are rarely seen by most birders because the species does not usually choose artificial nest boxes. Both parents attend the nest and spend about a month taking turns incubating the eggs.

Please use our bird egg identifier below to compare against any discarded or used shells you may find in your garden our elsewhere. If you find any egg shells not featured here, please post in the comments section below and share with everyone.

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Identify Bird Eggs by Color and Size

What bird lays blue eggs? What do cardinal eggs look like? Look at photos to help you identify bird eggs from 10 different species.

Bird eggs range in colors and can be ornately maculated with spots, blotches and scrawls. They vary in shape and size, and they must be thick enough to withstand the weight of an incubating parent but thin enough to allow the embryo to break through and hatch. Other than heat and protection, all the resources needed for a chick to grow and mature are packaged up cleanly and tightly in the eggshell surrounding it. Learn to identify bird eggs and discover how egg color, size and incubation change from species to species.

Walter Ferguson

Ruby-Throated Hummingbird Eggs

Photo by John WeinsteinClutch size: 2 eggsA kiwi lays the largest egg in relation to its body size, but hummingbirds come in a close second when you add up the total volume of their two eggs laid in each clutch. Nests are built and eggs are incubated by the females. Like all hummingbirds, this species lays immaculate white eggs, but the eggs sit so deep in the cup-shaped nest that predators don’t see them unless they stand directly above the nest. Learn everything you need to know about hummingbird nests.

Walter Ferguson

American Robin Bird Eggs

Photo by John WeinsteinClutch size: 3 to 4 eggsThe spotless, bright blue-green eggs in the American robin’s mud-lined nest are a sure sign that spring has arrived in North America—and sometimes they appear before the season itself.In places where trees are very sparse, robins may nest on the ground. Many eggs don’t make it to hatching because of the diverse predators, including squirrels, snakes and crows, that easily rob the robin clutch. In response to adversity, robins quickly build their nests again, but the later clutches might contain fewer eggs. Learn more about robin nests and eggs.

H. Jon JanosikYellow Warbler Eggs

Photo by John WeinsteinClutch size: 4 to 5 eggsYellow warblers are popular targets of brood parasitic brown-headed cowbirds. When both species’ eggs are present in a nest, the warbler eggs often fail to hatch or the chicks might not make it to fledging. When cowbirds are near the nest, yellow warblers emit alarm calls and the female may sit on the nest with wings spread out to keep other birds at bay. If the warblers find a cowbird egg in their nest, they may bury it by building a new layer of nest on top of the intruder’s egg. Learn how to attract nesting birds to birdhouses.

H. Jon JanosikBlue Jay Eggs

Photo by John WeinsteinClutch size: 2 to 7 eggsBlue jays swiftly remove sharp eggshell fragments to protect their newly hatched brood from harm. Discarding shells also helps prevent both microbial infestations and pungent-smelling cues that might alert nest predators about the location of the clutch. In this jay’s family, only the female incubates the eggs, but both parents work to provision the hungry chicks upon hatching. Here’s what to do if you find a bird nest with eggs or a baby bird.

Walter FergusonNorthern Cardinal Eggs

Photo by John WeinsteinClutch size: 2 to 4 eggsThe beige base color and brown spots of the Northern cardinal’s egg sharply contrast with the bright red plumage of the male parent. Perhaps because the female has a mix of more subdued reddish brown plumage, she is the sex responsible for incubating the eggs. She also builds the delicate nest, constructing the base by crushing twigs with her powerful beak. All the while, she’s followed and fed by the male as part of his nuptial feedings. Check out 6 proven ways to attract cardinals.

Walter FergusonCedar Waxwing Eggs

Photo by John WeinsteinClutch size: 4 to 6 eggsErratic in their distribution and where they breed, cedar waxwings time their egg laying with late-ripening fruit. The waxwing egg is a balance of a pale bluish gray and a suite of darker, delicate spotting patterns. With a tight pair bond, both parents build the nest, incubate the eggs and, once the eggs hatch, feed the nestlings a mostly fruit diet. What is a fledgling? Learn the five stages of a baby bird’s life.

Albert Earl GilbertBaltimore Oriole Eggs

Photos by John WeinsteinClutch size: 3 to 7 eggsThe pale gray-blue Baltimore oriole egg is covered with sparsely distributed lines and squiggles that marble the egg. Occasionally, a nest may be attended by two birds that look like females. But usually one of them is actually a young male breeding for his first time, still displaying more cryptic plumage that allows him to stay under the radar of older and more competitive males. Learn about 8 different kinds of bird nests and how to spot them.

Raymond Harris ChingOsprey Eggs

Photo by John WeinsteinClutch size: 1 to 4 eggsIt takes an osprey five weeks or so to complete the incubation period for its dark blotch-covered eggs. Older birds often pair with previous partners, reusing and improving the preceding year’s nest to build an even bulkier and presumably safer site for incubating the eggs. Ospreys sometimes nest in loose colonies, where they observe and copy cues about from what location their neighbors might have brought in the latest catch to feed their young.

Chuck RipperBlack-Capped Chickadee Eggs

Photo by John WeinsteinClutch size: 6 to 8 eggsChickadee eggs are white with small reddish-brown spots. The eggs of these cavity-nesting birds are rarely seen by most birders because the species does not usually choose artificial nest boxes. Instead, they prefer to breed in old woodpecker holes or in holes of rotting stumps. There is a trade-off, though. Because woodpecker holes are safer, competition with other cavity-nesting birds for the holes is also fiercer. Many embryos of chickadees are sired by males other than the social father. This phenomenon is known as extra-pair paternity. Learn more about chickadees.