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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

Western Bluebird -- Sialia mexicana

RANGE: Resident from southern British Columbia, western and south-central Montana, and north-central Colorado south through the mountains to Baja California, western and southern Nevada, southern Utah, western and southeastern Arizona, central New Mexico, western Texas, and in the highlands of Mexico. Wanders in winter to lowland areas throughout the breeding range, and to islands off California and Baja California.

STATUS: Overall population is low but stable.

HABITAT: Mostly inhabits open ponderosa pine forests of the transition zone but is also found in other open coniferous, deciduous, and mixed forests, partly open country with scattered trees, savannah, and riparian woodlands.

SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Cavities for nesting and perches for feeding.

NEST: Usually nests in old woodpecker holes, but also uses natural cavities and nest boxes. Prefers to locate nests in rather open forests or at forest edges.

FOOD: Sometimes hawks insects from high perches; otherwise flies to the ground from low perches to catch prey. Mostly eats insects and spiders but also some fruits such as elderberries and mistletoe berries.

REFERENCES: Beal 1915a, Herlugson 1982, Tate and Tate 1982.

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