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Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

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Forest and Rangeland Birds of the United States

Natural History and Habitat Use

Mountain Bluebird -- Sialia currucoides

RANGE: Breeds from east-central Alaska, southern Yukon, and western Manitoba south in the mountains to southern California, central and southeastern Nevada, northern and east-central Arizona, and southern New Mexico, and east to northeastern North Dakota, western South Dakota, and central Oklahoma. Winters from southern British Columbia and western Montana south to Baja California, Mexico, and southern Texas, and east to eastern Kansas, western Oklahoma, and central Texas.

STATUS: Population is low but stable.

HABITAT: Nests in nearly all forest types of the Rocky Mountain region, usually from 7,000 to 11,000 feet in open forests or near forest edges. During migration and in winter, also frequents grasslands, open brushy country, and agricultural lands.

SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Cavity nests and feeding perches.

NEST: Usually nests in old woodpecker holes or natural cavities in dead trees in open areas or near forest edges. Will also use nest boxes.

FOOD: Hawks from high perches or flies to the ground to catch its prey. Probably more insectivorous than the other bluebirds; nearly 92 percent of the diet is animal material; the small amount of vegetable food includes fruits, hackberry seeds, and cedar berries.

REFERENCES: Beal 1915a, Burleigh 1972, Herlugson 1982, Scott et al. 1977, Tate and Tate 1982.

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