Indigo Bunting vs Blue Grosbeak – Know the Difference

Birds in the sky-what a sight to see! Whether they are soaring high above us or perched on a nearby tree, there’s something truly special about these creatures.

There are various types of birds, some bird species look very similarr to each other but actually they are not.

They come in all shapes and sizes, and each one has its own unique story.

Today, we’re going to talk about two different kinds of birds with a similar look i.e, Indigo Bunting vs Blue Grosbeak, and will try to find the difference between them. So without further ado, let’s get started.

Here’s the quick video on both of these birds ID : watch it.

Indigo Bunting vs Blue Grosbeak

Coloration and marking:

The Indigo Bunting is a small songbird notable for its vibrant blue plumage. The male of the species is particularly striking, with a deep blue body, and greyish-black on the wings and tail.

The underpart of the wings and tail are white which can be seen when they make a flight.

They also have a very small amount of black near the base of the bill but not nearly to the degree that the Blue Grosbeak does. Whereas females are brown from head to tail with a blue-black wing bar and tail.

The Blue Grosbeak is a small bird with a big voice. They have blue plumage and distinctive rusty and black wing bars. They also have black masks near the base of the bill going over the eye that the Indigo Bunting lacks. Whereas the females are brown from head to tail and lack the blue of the male, but still have the same rust-colored wings.

Size

The average length of Indigo bunting is 12-13 cm with a wingspan of 20-23 cm.

The average length of a Blue Grosbeak is 14-19 cm and the wingspan is from 26-29cm 

Habitat

These small songbirds are most commonly found in forest edges and open woodlands, where they build their nests. However, they can also be found in fields, gardens, as well as in feeders. They are attracted to areas with dense vegetation, as this provides them with plenty of hiding places.

They are found in a variety of habitats, including woodlands, fields, and edges of forests, also commonly seen near streams or other bodies of water.

Diet

Indigo Bunting loves to eat various seeds, fruits, and insects. In the spring and summer, they primarily eat insects including spiders, millipedes, and snails. In the fall and winter, when insects are scarce, they switch to a diet of seeds and berries. The favorite seeds come from trees in the sunflower family, such as black-eyed Susans and coneflower. And in the winter, when other food is scarce, they will even eat poison ivy berries.

In spring and summer, they feast on insects such as beetles, grasshoppers, and caterpillars. They also enjoy munching on dragonflies, mayflies, and crickets. During the fall and winter months, when insects are harder to come by, they turn to seeds and berries. Their favorite fruits include grapes, cherries, sumac berries, and bayberries.

Nesting

Nesting takes place from late May through early July. These birds nest in trees or shrubs, often close to the ground. Female lays 3-5 eggs, which are pale blue with dark spots. 

Blue Grosbeaks typically start building their nests in early May. The female will weave a cup-shaped nest out of grass, leaves, and twigs, which she will then line with hair or fur. She will usually lay 3-5 eggs, which are pale blue to white. The breeding season for this species typically lasts from May to August.

Backyardtips:

If you’re trying to attract Indigo Bunting to your backyard, here are a few tips: Plant native plants and bushes, as this will provide food and shelter for the birds. Put up a birdbath or a small fountain, as the birds will appreciate having access to water. Put seeds, berries, and fruits in the feeder which they like the most.

Spring and fall are the best times of year for these birds to see them at the backyard feeder, although they may visit the birdfeeder at any time and anywhere within their range during migration. If a Blue grosbeak does stop by at your feeder, serve its favorite food like sunflower seed chips or millets. And then enjoy watching them for as long as it stays.

Cool facts:

  • The male Indigo Bunting sings over 12 different songs. That’s more than any other bird in North America.
  • The song of these birds is one of the most distinctive sounds of summertime.
  • Though they are tiny birds, they have an incredible ability to navigate using the stars, they use the position of the stars to orient themselves and determine their latitude. They also seem to use the stars to help them find their way back to their breeding ground each year.
  • While we may not be able to travel like the Indigo Buntings, we can admire their tenacity and skill. The next time you see a starry night sky, think of these amazing little birds and the incredible journey they take every year.
  • The Blue grosbeak is not actually blue instead their feathers are a deep violet color but they can appear bluish in certain lights.
  • The male bird is particularly known for its singing ability, and it will often sing for hours at a time during the breeding season.
  • This bird is one of the most commonly hybridized birds in North America.
  • They typically nest in trees, and often reuse the same nest year after year.

Conclusion:

Both species may look very similar to the eyes when you see the birds. But actually they are not. Everything is different, if you look them closely. So, next time if you are out for birdwatching, be sure that what you have caught.

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