What Bird Lays Blue Eggs?

This is a question that more than 2584 of our readers have been asking us! Luckily, we have found the most appropriate information for you!

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.

Learn how to identify British birds’ eggs with our expert guide by naturalist and presenter Brett Westwood, including which species it came from and where you are most likely to see.

Laws will vary between different countries, but in the UK, taking eggs is illegal under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 – and rightly so. Male starlings construct the first part of the nest and sing on a perch nearby in order to attract a mate. Clutches of 4–6 eggs occur in the nest in April, with chicks hatching twelve days later, and fledging after three weeks. Clutches of 4–6 eggs are laid in early spring and, after they fledge, the chicks are fed by the parents until they reach maturity. The nest is similar to a song thrush, with a backbone of twigs, a plaster of mud and a lining of fine grass. Males care for the chicks as they flutter and explore food items, while females stock up on energy to lay another brood. Robins pair for the breeding season but are independent the rest of the year – they usually begin courting in late winter or early spring. Shells can frequently be found on the ground as the female removes them immediately after chicks have hatched, though she sometimes eats part of them for their calcium content. For females, this sometimes means mating with more than one male, so that they will both help raise her chicks and give them a higher chance of survival. Sometimes males can be seen pecking a female’s cloaca – the opening through which waste products exit and reproductive activity takes place – before mating with her. In food shortages, the hatchlings can go in to a state of torpor, where some of their metabolic processes are shut off to enable them to survive. Surrounded by tall grass, and while sitting in the nest the female may line it with vegetation and twigs that she can pluck from around her, as well as her own feathers. As it takes a lot of energy for females to lay the eggs, she depends to a high degree on her mate for protection and food. Males remain potent for an extended period in case the first brood fails and females need to mate again. They nest on open ground, usually in slightly elevated areas that give them a good vantage point for approaching predators. The nests are depressions in the ground, lined with the bird’s body feathers, and made out of grasses, mosses and leaves. The chicks emerge well-formed, leaving the nest after about two days, during which time they are sustained on reserves from their yolk sac. Adults feed on sunflower hearts and other seeds, but young require a diet of grubs and caterpillars. However, chicks raised on human garbage dumps instead of fish generally show poorer survival rates due to the impoverished diet. Their population was affected greatly by human hunting in the 1880s, and general threats to their habitats and traditional food source of fish may be contributing to decline today.

Spring is a season of lovely colors, from the pretty pinks of tulips and tree blossoms to the sunny yellows of daffodils and baby chicks to the soft, beautiful blue of robin’s eggs. But why are robin eggs blue, and what can colors reveal about different wild bird eggs?

Eggshells can be a rainbow of hues, from simple white, cream, buff, and tan shades to lavender, mint green, yellow, teal, gray, red-orange, pink, and blue-green. Spots, flecks, specks, splotches, blotches, and squiggles can all be marked on eggs and add to their color variations. In many cases, color helps camouflage an eggshell from hungry predators that are happy to raid nests for an easy meal. The radiation and heat from the sun can easily damage delicate eggs, both by influencing chick development and impacting the incubation period. A very dark egg, for example, will have better protection against harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation, but it can also heat up too quickly in direct sunlight and the extreme temperature could kill an unhatched chick. A lighter egg is less subject to the stress of overheating, but more at risk for developmental problems caused by UV radiation. When an incubation period is strongly affected by heat from the sun, chicks are subject to greater mutations and higher fatalities because their development is rushed. This is an evolutionary process that can take many generations to perfect, and even birds in the same species may have slightly different eggshell colors based on their range and habitat preferences. In addition to coloring eggshells, biliverdin is also responsible for blue tones in moth and butterfly wings, and is the same pigment that makes bruises turn bluish-green.

Did you ever wonder why some birds, such as Bluebirds and Robins, lay blue or bluish green eggs? And just as interesting why, in some cases, Bluebirds which generally lay blue eggs, a nest may comprise eggs that are almost white?

Over time, most likely to protect the eggs from predators, birds evolved a diverse range of colored shell markings from mottled brown, gray and beige to rainbow hues from pure white to pale pink, lavender, yellow, aqua, orange, blue, born and even black. American Robins generally nest in trees or a semi-exposed site and their eggs are blue, affording both protection from dangerous UV light and low risk from heating up. This entry was posted in Beauty by the Sea , Beauty of Cape Ann , Birds , Birds of New England , birds of North America , By-the-Sea , Cape Ann , Cape Ann Wildlife , Essex County , MassWildlife , Songbirds and tagged American Robin Eggs , biliverdin , Birds that lay blue eggs New England , Bluejay , Eastern Bluebird , Eastern Bluebird Eggs , European Starling , Goldfinch , Gray Catbird , Great Blue Heron , House Finch , Little Blue Heron , protoporphyrin , Red-winged Blackbird , Sialia sialis , Snowy Egret , Turdus americanus , Turdus migratorius , Why do birds lay blue eggs?

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.

How to identify birds’ eggs

Learn how to identify British birds’ eggs with our expert guide by naturalist and presenter Brett Westwood, including which species it came from and where you are most likely to see.Published:For those of us of a certain age, egg collecting was a key ritual in becoming a naturalist. It usually meant pinching the odd blackbird or dunnock egg from your garden or a local hedgerow. Today, of course, taking eggs is (except for some ‘pest’ species) illegal under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.Laws will vary between different countries, but in the UK, taking eggs is illegal under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 – and rightly so. All birds, their nests and eggs are protected in the UK, with only a few exceptions.As a result, identifying birds’ eggs is something we’ve become less good at: when we spot one, the species it belonged to is often a mystery. But you don’t need to break the law to be an egg-detective – the signs are all around us. What are those fragments of speckled eggs on the garden path? Who laid that bright blue egg dumped on the lawn?Remember, eggshells don’t just fall out of a nest. Predators such as foxes or magpies may carry them away, as do parent birds, often to help conceal the location of vulnerable babies.Examine every egg for clues. In an egg that hatched naturally, a hole will tend to open outwards as the baby emerged; in predated eggs, holes are punched inwards.And once you’ve found an egg, you can always come back here if you need a hand with the identification.We have illustrated the dozen eggs you’re most likely to find in your garden or local park or on a country walk. Note the markings may vary a great deal; the sizes quoted are length x breadth.Learn how to identify birds’ eggs with our expert guide, including which species it came from and where you are most likely to see birds’ eggs.

How to identify birds eggs

Starling eggs(

Starling eggs are smooth and fairly glossy, 30 x 21mm in size. They are pale blue eggs with no markings. They are sometimes found whole, with unhatched eggs, largely due to infertility.Starlings nest in colonies, with all individuals feeding in a communal foraging ground. Male starlings construct the first part of the nest and sing on a perch nearby in order to attract a mate. When a female finds a satisfactory male, she will finish the nest by lining it with insulating material.Clutches of 4–6 eggs occur in the nest in April, with chicks hatching twelve days later, and fledging after three weeks. The majority of starling chicks make it to adulthood.

Song thrush eggs(

Song thrush eggs are smooth and glossy,31 x 22mm large. They are very pale blue eggs with a few large dark speckles, mostly at the wider end.The nests are usually constructed out of mud, with no grass lining. If coming across eggs in the nest, this will be an easy distinguishing factor of the song thrush versus other birds with similar eggs.Clutches of 4–6 eggs are laid in early spring and, after they fledge, the chicks are fed by the parents until they reach maturity.

Blackbird eggs(

Blackbird eggs are smooth and glossy, 29 x 22mm in size. They’re green-blue or completely blue eggs with heavy red-brown freckles that can make them seem brown overall.The nest is similar to a song thrush, with a backbone of twigs, a plaster of mud and a lining of fine grass. Two to four broods can take place each year depending on weather, and the nest can be reused to accommodate them all. The birds take just two weeks to fledge, but can survive from as young as nine days old if they are forced to fledge early. The young blackbirds hide in nearby cover until they are able to fly.Males care for the chicks as they flutter and explore food items, while females stock up on energy to lay another brood.

Robin eggs

20 x 15.5mm, robin eggs are smooth but with a matte finish. They’re white eggs with variable fine brown freckles, and the whole egg may seem buff.Robins pair for the breeding season but are independent the rest of the year – they usually begin courting in late winter or early spring. Males feed the female as she sits in the nest, supplying her with about one-third of her food.Robins abandon nests easily if they fear they have been discovered, as they nest on the ground. They have been known to nest in curious places, like inside boots, kettles, or coat pockets. Shells can frequently be found on the ground as the female removes them immediately after chicks have hatched, though she sometimes eats part of them for their calcium content.After two weeks the chicks fledge, but they are still cared for by their parents for a further three weeks as they totter around on the ground. Three or four broods can be laid a year, with nestlings found into the summer months. Robins have very strong nurturing instincts and are sometimes found to feed the young of other species.

Dunnock eggs(

Dunnock eggs are smooth and glossy, about 20 x 15mm in size. They are bright-blue eggs that are unmarked; smaller than superficially similar starling eggs.The eggs may be unassuming, but the breeding habits of dunnocks are promiscuous. Males and females strive to give themselves the best chance that their genes are passed on to the next generation. For males, this means mating, and making sure they are the only male mating with a given female. For females, this sometimes means mating with more than one male, so that they will both help raise her chicks and give them a higher chance of survival.Sometimes males can be seen pecking a female’s cloaca – the opening through which waste products exit and reproductive activity takes place – before mating with her. In doing this, they hope to cause her to expel the sperm of any other males she may have mated with before them.Dunnock eggs are laid in a nest of grass, leaves and roots. They are frequently targeted by cuckoos, which remove one dunnock egg and replace it with the much larger cuckoo’s egg.

House martin eggs(

19.5 x 13.5mm in size, house martin eggs are smooth and slightly glossy. They are plain white eggs and are sometimes found under eaves near predated nests.They are summer nesters, being completely depending on flying insects for their diet and to feed their brood. The birds have become naturalised to residential areas, nesting in colonies, commonly under eves in spherical nests made of pellets of mud mixed with grass, lined with insulating material like feathers.The eggs are incubated for two weeks by both parents, and the chicks take three weeks to leave the nest, though they remain in the colony for several more weeks. In food shortages, the hatchlings can go in to a state of torpor, where some of their metabolic processes are shut off to enable them to survive. First hatchlings often help the parents to feed successive broods.

Pheasant eggs(

At 46 x 36mm, pheasant eggs are the size of a small hen’s egg. They’re usually olive-brown eggs, but can be brownish or have blueish tones.Nests are constructed on the ground, by digging out a pit concealed among tall grass. Males are fiercely territorial, commanding foraging grounds and a harem of females which he mates with. Pheasant chicks are similar to chickens, hatching already covered with feathers and able to leave the nest. They follow the female around and forage for food with her. They are omnivorous birds, feeding on seeds, berries and grass, as well as small invertebrates.

Mallard eggs(

Mallard duck eggs are 57 x 41mm large and smooth with a matte or ‘eggshell’, rather than a glossy, feel. They’re typically pale blue-green.Nests are nothing more than shallow pits in the ground. Surrounded by tall grass, and while sitting in the nest the female may line it with vegetation and twigs that she can pluck from around her, as well as her own feathers. She also pulls grass over the top of the nest to conceal it. They are located near water and the location is chosen by both parents during flights at dusk.As it takes a lot of energy for females to lay the eggs, she depends to a high degree on her mate for protection and food. Males remain potent for an extended period in case the first brood fails and females need to mate again. During this time, they may forcibly mate with females.Eggs are incubated for about a month, but hatchlings can leave the nest in about half a day. They will follow their mother to water and begin feeding immediately.

Canada goose eggs(

86 x 58mm, Canada goose eggs are one of the largest eggs you’re likely to encounter. They’re white or cream, not glossy, and have no markings.Introduced to the UK about 300 years ago, they have since spread to a large range and can be inconvenient in some areas due to their habit of congregating in large numbers. These congregations are usually made up of related birds, and pairs mate for life. They nest on open ground, usually in slightly elevated areas that give them a good vantage point for approaching predators. The nests are depressions in the ground, lined with the bird’s body feathers, and made out of grasses, mosses and leaves.The chicks emerge well-formed, leaving the nest after about two days, during which time they are sustained on reserves from their yolk sac. After two days, the mother leads the chicks to water where they begin feeding. Their diet consists of grain, grass, and underwater plant matter.

Great tit eggs(

17.5 x 13.5mm in size, great tit eggs are slightly glossy. They are white in colour, with variable amounts of reddish or purplish speckling.Adults feed on sunflower hearts and other seeds, but young require a diet of grubs and caterpillars. Parents must establish breeding territories early on in the year and assert their dominion over them. 7–9 eggs are laid during spring and summer, and young birds fledge about three weeks after hatching.Nests are made of a structure of twigs and roots, lined with softer hair for insulation. The nest is high off the ground, usually in a crevice of a tree.

House sparrow eggs(

House sparrow eggs are 22.5 x 15.5mm and slightly glossy. The eggs are white with variable, often heavy, speckling in browns and blue-greys.The chicks only take about two weeks to fledge and their parents continue to care for them for two weeks further, as they cannot feed themselves during the first week out of the nest. The male sparrow is usually in charge of these chicks while the female prepares to lay the next clutch of eggs – throughout their April to August nesting season, sparrows may raise four clutches.House sparrows nest in colonies, just a few inches from each other. The nest is generally messy and can include twigs and wool. They survive on a diet of grain and insects.

Fun Fact

Eggshells can be a rainbow of hues, from simple white, cream, buff, and tan shades to lavender, mint green, yellow, teal, gray, red-orange, pink, and blue-green. Eggs may be plain, or they may have markings in different colors, such as red-brown, deep purple, black, gray, or green. Spots, flecks, specks, splotches, blotches, and squiggles can all be marked on eggs and add to their color variations.

Colors as Camouflage

In many cases, color helps camouflage an eggshell from hungry predators that are happy to raid nests for an easy meal. This is especially true for eggs with neutral tones or those that have markings that help them blend into nesting material. Many birds that lay eggs in the open, such as in a scrape nest or directly on the ground in open areas, have such camouflaged eggs. The birds with those camouflaged eggs will often decorate their nests as well, to provide an additional layer of protection and concealment.

Colors Protecting Eggs From the Sun

The color of a bird’s egg can also protect it from harmful sunlight. The radiation and heat from the sun can easily damage delicate eggs, both by influencing chick development and impacting the incubation period. A very dark egg, for example, will have better protection against harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation, but it can also heat up too quickly in direct sunlight and the extreme temperature could kill an unhatched chick. A lighter egg is less subject to the stress of overheating, but more at risk for developmental problems caused by UV radiation. When an incubation period is strongly affected by heat from the sun, chicks are subject to greater mutations and higher fatalities because their development is rushed.Because of the connection between sunlight and eggshell color, shell colors vary based on the geographic range of a bird species and where they lay their eggs. Birds that typically lay eggs in open, exposed areas likely to see more sunlight often have lighter-colored eggshells. Eggs laid in concealed locations sheltered from the sun are more likely to be darker hues.Ultimately, birds need to strike a balance between the best color for their eggs and the environmental conditions where they lay those eggs. This is an evolutionary process that can take many generations to perfect, and even birds in the same species may have slightly different eggshell colors based on their range and habitat preferences.

But, Really, Why Are Robin Eggs Blue?

In addition to giving a clue about a bird’s nesting habits with regards to the sunlight that reaches a nest, the colors of eggshells can indicate:

Lillie Martinez
What a rip-off! I picked up a book called 101 Mating Positions. It turned out to be a book on chess. The only genuine elite is the elite of those men and women who gave their lives to justice and charity. Proud bacon scholar. Gamer. Pop culture advocate. Thinker. Social mediaholic. Unapologetic reader. Interests: Photography, Origami, Learning A Language
Posts created 470

Related Posts

Begin typing your search term above and press enter to search. Press ESC to cancel.

Back To Top