21 Types of BLUE And WHITE BIRDS (ID Guide With Photos)
Did you spot a blue and white-colored bird in your backyard? In that case you’ll probably want to know what species you saw.
Identifying birds that have both blue and white plumage is not as easy as it might seem, since there are surprisingly many bird species that fit this description.
To help you identify the bird you saw, we’ll cover all the most common blue and white birds in this article.
What are the types of blue and white birds?
There are 21 different types of birds that are both blue and white, which are covered in full detail below.
Note that only the first half of this list represents North American birds, while the other birds hail from other parts of the world.
Scientific name: Cyanocitta cristata
A common blue colored bird found throughout the eastern US and Canada, the Blue Jay prefers open areas with scattered trees, shrubs, and other vegetation with dense undergrowth.
These beautiful blue birds are grayish on top, with bright arctic blue feathers in their wings and blue tails. Their underparts are white and light gray.
This is the most common blue and white-colored bird in North America
Blue Jays are social birds that live in small groups called colonies, with each colony containing one dominant pair and several subordinate members.
These birds often use man made structures such as buildings, bridges, and telephone poles for foraging.
If you want to attract Blue Jays to your bird feeder, it’s best to offer them peanuts or sunflower seeds.
Scientific name: Sialia currucoides
The Mountain Bluebird is generally found in more montane habitats than the former species, but the two types of bluebirds sometimes overlap in their distribution.
Adult males are almost entirely cerulean blue, except for their pale white colored belly. The blue plumage is darker on the back, and lighter on the chest.
These bluebirds breed in mountainous regions of the western US and Canada.
They are migratory birds in northern parts of their range, while they are year-round residents in southern parts of their range.
During winter they occur in areas of the country where they don’t breed, and sometimes visit bird feeders offering berries or mealworms.
Scientific name: Passerina amoena
The Lazuli Bunting is a gorgeous songbird of the western United States where it occurs as a summer visitor.
The hood, neck, and rump of adult males are light blue, while the wings are dark gray with a white wingbar.
Males also have a chestnut orange breast and a white belly throughout the summer months.
Females are buff-brown in color with black wings and a pale blue rump.
The Lazuli Bunting may be found in North America during the breeding season, which runs from May to August, before migrating to Mexico for the winter.
Scientific name: Polioptila caerulea
Except for their long tail, the Blue-gray Gnatcatchers look a lot like warblers.
The upperparts of adult males are blue-gray and white, while their tail is black with a white stripe at the margins.
It may be encountered as a breeding bird in the temperate regions of North America, predominantly from early May through August.
It is a partial migratory bird, with southeastern populations being year-round residents. Northern populations, however, spend the winter in the southern USA and Central America.
A great way to identify this small bird is by its long tail that is often cocked upwards.
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Scientific name: Setophaga caerulescens
The male and female Black-throated Blue Warblers have plumages that are notably unlike one another.
During the summer, adult males have deep blue upperparts, black wings, and a white patch at the base of the primary feathers on their wings.
There is a clear demarcation between the white underparts and the blue upper parts, which is due to a line of black feathers.
During the months of May through August, the Black-throated Blue Warbler may be encountered nesting in the northern and central regions of North America.
It is a strict migratory bird, and spends the rest of its year in the Caribbean. These warblers feed on insects most of the year, but also include berries in their diet during fall.
Scientific name: Setophaga americana
The Northern Parula is a colorful wood warbler that has distinct markings on its body.
The upperparts of adult males are dusty blue, and they have a yellowish green patch on the back, in addition to two white wingbars.
One of the most distinctive features is the bright yellow throat, as well as an orange breast band.
The eye of the Northern Parula has a partial white eyering, which is a great feature for identification of this little warbler.
It is a common summer visitor in North America that can be seen in deciduous and mixed woodland. And although it is a migratory bird, some individuals can be seen year-round in southern Virginia.
Scientific name: Aphelocoma californica
The California Scrub-Jay was called the Western Scrub Jay until a few years ago, and was thought to belong to a single species that occurs throughout the western United States.
However, in 2016 it was split into two different species, the California Scrub Jay (found along the Pacific Coast), and the Woodhouse’s Scrub Jay (found further inland).
Adult males and females look the same, and have an azure upper head, blue on their wings, and tail, as well as dark gray shoulders and a light gray belly. The largely blue body contrasts with a white throat streaked with white and gray.
These blue gray jays are year-round residents that can be encountered in a variety of lightly wooded habitats and shrubland.
Scientific name: Calocitta formosa
This is a spectacularly colored blue and white jay of lowland forests and scrub land in southern Mexico and Central America.
The sexes are alike, and are baby blue on top ( including their wings), and pure white on the bottom.
Their long tail is azure blue, and has white feathers on the edges. And their white face is separated from the chest by a thin midnight blue chest band. Also note the conspicuous crest.
Scientific name: Tachycineta bicolor
The Tree Swallow is relatively common throughout North America, and is most often found close to lakes, marshes, and ponds.
Adult Tree Swallows are greenish blue on top, and have a buff white underside. Their feathers are iridescent, and change color when viewed in direct sunlight.
This little blue and white swallow feeds exclusively on insects that it catches in the air, and as a strict insectivore it is a long distance migrant that only spends the summer in Wisconsin.
Tree Swallows winter around the Gulf of Mexico, as well as in Central America.
Scientific name: Sitta carolinensis
This is the largest Nuthatch species in North America, and is a common year-round resident across the entire continent.
Adults have a grayish blue back and wings, as well as a white face, throat, and breast.
These blue and white nuthatches favor deciduous or mixed forests, and are common visitors at tube feeders in Virginia offering sunflower seeds.
Outside of the breeding season White-breasted Nuthatches form small flocks with other species of songbirds, which rove around and forage together.
Scientific name: Setophaga cerulea
The Cerulean Warbler is a gorgeous songbird, but its population has steadily declined over the decades, and it is now classified as endangered.
The upperparts of adult males are baby blue, and their underparts are largely white.
The flanks are marked with a number of black streaks, and the wings have two white wing bars on the secondaries.
In contrast to the male, the blue portions of an adult female’s plumage are replaced with a greenish hue, although the sexes otherwise look similar.
The Cerulean Warbler is a rare breeding bird in the northeastern United States, and migrate south to South America to spend the winter.
Its numbers have been declining steadily due to loss of habitat, and so is in need of strict conservation efforts.
Scientific name: Pica hudsonia
The Black-billed Magpie is a largely black and white, medium-sized songbird, but it also has glossy blue on its wings, and thus merits inclusion on this list.
The sexes are alike, and have a black body and head, contrasting with a white shoulder patch on their dark blue wings.
Black-billed Magpies also have white underparts, and a long bluish-green tail. They are birds of western North America, where they are found year-round in open areas and lightly wooded habitats.
Great Blue Heron
Scientific name: Ardea herodias
The Great Blue Heron is the most common heron in North America, where it can be seen year round.
This large bird has a wingspan of up to 6 feet. It is almost entirely blue gray, except for a white throat, cheeks and forehead, as well as dark gray wing feathers.
This bird likes to hunt for small fish and other small animals by wading in the shallows of lakes, marshes and ponds.
This blue & white bird also forages on meadows, golf courses and grassy areas, where it stalks rodents. It is a non-migratory bird, and can be seen in North America all year round.
However, it requires open water in order to catch fish, and northern birds will fly to southern states if the winter is very cold.
Related: Guide to the different types of blue birds
Scientific name: Megaceryle alcyon
The Belted Kingfisher looks superficially similar to a Blue Jay, due to its grayish blue upperside.
However, the Belted Kingfisher is darker blue than a Jay, and is also more likely to be found close to water.
Adult male Belted Kingfishers are almost entirely teal on top, except for a white ring around the neck that separates the cap from the rest of the body.
This kingfisher is partially migratory, but can be seen year round in southern parts of its range.
This blue-colored bird with a white collar feeds almost exclusively on small fish, and is therefore rarely seen far away from streams, lakes and other freshwater.
Scientific name: Todiramphus diops
Image source: Francesco Veronesi, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons (cropped)
This kingfisher is found on a handful of islands in northern Indonesia, with the largest population on North Maluku.
Males are azure on top, and white on the bottom, with a blue chest band separating their white throat from the belly.
Females look similar, but lack the chest band. Blue-and-white Kingfishers frequent the edges of lowland forests, and other open woodland habitats.
Scientific name: Halcyon senegalensis
The Woodland Kingfisher hails from sub saharan Africa, and has an electric blue back with dark blue patches on its wings.
The belly is grayish white, and contrasts with a bicolored bill that is orange red on top, and dark on the bottom.
Another characteristic feature is the small black mask between the eye and the beak. This kingfisher is most often encountered foraging in pairs at the edge of mature forests.
Scientific name: Todiramphus chloris
This medium-sized bird is common throughout South East Asia, where it can be found in mangrove forests, as well as woodland edges further inland.
Both sexes are similar, and have a bright blue back and tail, as well as a greenish-blue cap, while the rest of their plumage is white.
A few isolated populations are also found in the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf. It occurs in many different subspecies, which can have slightly different color patterns.
Scientific name: Dacelo leachii
This large kingfisher with a long bill hails from northern Australia, where it is found in a variety of forested habitats, as well as urban areas.
The wings and tail have several different shades of vibrant blue, ranging from light sky blue to dark admiral blue.
The belly and chest are buff white with fine brown scalloping. This bird is often encountered sitting on powerlines, waiting for suitable prey to come into view.
Scientific name: Thraupis episcopus
This beautiful tanager is found in the northern South America, as well as the southern parts of Central America, where it is widespread and fairly common.
It is uniformly light blue, contrasting with large white wing bars. However, the white patches only occur in a subspecies that lives east of the Andes.
Similar to most tanager species, this is a bird of the upper canopies in mature forests, making it difficult to observe.
Scientific name: Ficedula superciliaris
The Ultramarine Flycatcher is a stunning small songbird of India and Nepal, as well a few adjacent areas in Burma and Thailand.
The male is ultramarine blue on top, and has a creamy white belly and chin, which are separated by a blue chest band.
Females are more inconspicuous, and are dark brown on top, and buff on the bottom. This flycatcher is a bird of montane deciduous forests.
Scientific name: Cyanoptila cyanomelana
The Blue-and-white Flycatcher is endemic to Japan and parts of southern China and Southeast Asia.
The male is stunningly beautiful with royal blue plumage on top, as well as a black face and chest, contrasting with a bright white belly.
Females are light brown with a white belly. This blue and white flycatcher is found in lowland forest habitats, and is partially migratory.
Scientific name: Florisuga mellivora
This stunningly colored hummingbird is native to the northern parts of South America, and found at rainforest edges and clearings.
The male has a deep neon blue head and upper chest, which contrasts with its dazzling white belly. The tail is also largely white, which is most obvious when it is spread during display.
The females are greenish on top, and brown with lighter spots on their underparts. Feeds on the nectar of flowering plants.
In summary, here are the 21 types of white and blue birds:
- Blue Jay
- Mountain Bluebird
- Lazuli Bunting
- Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
- Black-throated Blue Warbler
- Northern Parula
- Tree Swallow
- White-breasted Nuthatch
- Cerulean Warbler
- Black-billed Magpie
- Great Blue Heron
- Belted Kingfisher
- Blue-and-white Kingfisher
- Woodland Kingfisher
- Collared Kingfisher
- Blue-winged Kookaburra
- Blue-gray Tanager
- Ultramarine Flycatcher
- Blue-and-white Flycatcher
- White-throated Magpie-jay
- White-necked Jacobin
If you’ve spotted one of these birds, but aren’t sure which species of bird it was, check our detailed ID guide with photos above.
If you enjoyed this article, check out our guide to the blue birds of Pennsylvania.