This page features small birds with either entirely blue plumages, or where blue / purplish blue is a major plumage detail.
Visitors submit on a regular basis questions about “small blue birds” or “small blue finches” that they encountered and would like to have identified.
This resource was created to facilitate the identification of species they might have seen. Links to the full species pages are available. Basic information about their natural range is provided as well, as this is a key aspect in bird identification.
Blue Jays – Not featured on this page, since this page is only for small birds.
Blue Hummingbirds – listed on a separate page to keep this page to a manageable size
Mountain Bluebird (Sialia currucoides)
- Range: Canada south to northern parts of Mexico
Western Bluebird (Sialia mexicana)
- Range: Western North America, but not desert areas
Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis)
- Range: North America, east of the Rockies, southern Canada to the Gulf States and southeastern Arizona to Nicaragua.
Blue Grosbeaks (Passerina caerulea) – medium-sized, colorful songbirds
- Range: North and Central America.
Blue Finches (Porphyrospiza caerulescens) – also known as Yellow-billed Blue Finches
- Range: The Blue Finches are native to Brazil and Bolivia. They are rare and endangered.
Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea) – also known as Indigo Bird or Indigo Painted Finch
- Range: Eastern North America and the southwest United States. Isolated populations have been reported in western United States. Winter from southern Florida south to the Caribbean, Central America and northern South America
Opal-rumped Tanager (Tangara velia)
- Range: South-America – in the Amazon and Atlantic Forest
Blue-and-yellow Tanager (Thraupis bonariensis)
- Range: South America: Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia, extreme northern border Chile, and Andean Peru and Ecuador.
Fawn-breasted Tanager (Pipraeidea melanonota)
- Range: South Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Northern Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela.
Blue-capped Tanager (Thraupis cyanocephala)
- Range: South America: Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago, and Venezuela
Blue-grey Tanager (Thraupis episcopus)
- Range: Mexico south into South America, to northeast Bolivia and northern Brazil. Introduced to Lima, Peru.
Sayaca Tanager (Thraupis sayaca)
- Range: Northeastern, central, and southeastern Brazil, and Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, and northeast Argentina.
Opal-crowned Tanager (Tangara callophrys)
- Range: Found in South America, in the eastern Andes drainages to the western Amazon Basin in southeastern Colombia, eastern Ecuador and Peru and a border region of extreme northwestern Bolivia, and Amazonian Brazil. A disjunct population exists 100 km west in southern Colombia.
Turquoise Tanager (Tangara mexicana)
- Range: South America – within the Amazon Basin to Colombia, Venezuela, the Guianas and Bolivia. Also common on the island of Trinidad and in the Atlantic Forest of eastern Brazil, from Bahia to Rio de Janeiro.
Seven-colored Tanagers (Tangara fastuosa) – Rare songbirds
- Range: Brazil, South America
Swallow Tanager (Tersina viridis)
- Range: Panama (central America) south to Northern Argentina in South America.
Blue-necked Tanager (Tangara cyanicollis)
- Range: South America: Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela
Black-capped Tanager (Tangara heinei)
- Range: South America; Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela.
Paradise Tanager (Tangara chilensis)
- Range: Fairly common and widespread in the South American countries of Venezuela, Peru, Colombia and Brazil, as well as the upper parts of the Amazon
Green-headed Tanager (Tangara seledon)
- Range: South America – south-eastern Brazil, far eastern Paraguay and far north-eastern Argentina (Misiones only)
Golden-naped Tanager (Tangara ruficervix)
- Range: South America: Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.
Bay-headed Tanagers (Tangara gyrola)
- Range: Central America – namely Costa Rica, Panama – and in South America (south to Ecuador, Bolivia, southern Brazil), as well as on Trinidad (the southernmost island in the Caribbean).
Green Honeycreeper (Chlorophanes spiza)
- Range: Southern Mexico south to Brazil
Blue Dacnis or Turquoise Honeycreepers (Dacnis cayana)
- Range: Central America – Nicaragua to Panama, on Trinidad – as well as in South America south to Bolivia and northern Argentina.
Red-legged Honeycreeper (Cyanerpes cyaneus)
- Range: Southern Mexico south to Peru, Bolivia and central Brazil, and on Cuba, Trinidad and Tobago.
Purple Honeycreeper (Cyanerpes caeruleus)
- Range: South America: Colombia and Venezuela south to Brazil, and on Trinidad. May have been introduced to Tobago.
Shining Honeycreeper (Cyanerpes lucidus)
- Range: From southern Mexico to northwest Colombia.
- Natural Range: Even though they occur naturally only in East Africa, these birds are very popular and common in the American pet / cage trade. Feral populations or escapees are likely to exist in temperate climates
Species Research by Sibylle Johnson
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