What Bird Lays Blue Eggs? 20 Types of Birds That Lay Blue Eggs

What bird lays blue eggs?

Birds can lay eggs of rainbow hues ranging from pure white to lavender, yellow, mint green, orange, and blue-green.

Some eggs can even come with spots, specks, blemishes, and other markings. 

Why does the color of eggshells vary in nature?

Yes, camouflage is probably the foremost reason for brownish and more earthy shades, but why blue? And which birds lay blue eggs?

Read on to find out what birds lay blue eggs and the possible reasons behind this bright color. 

What bird lays blue eggs?

You probably already know that bluebirds lay blue eggs. Although those in North America like the Eastern, Mountain, and Western Bluebird lay pale blue to white eggs, you’re not likely to discover these eggs quickly.

They’re cavity nesters and rarely lay their eggs outside a cavity – except when desperate. Also, about 4-5% of bluebirds lay white eggs! 

But not to worry, hundreds of other species of birds lay blue eggs you’re far more likely to happen upon. 

Those who find blue eggs in unknown locations will most likely see an American Robin egg. House Finches also have eggs that are bluish-green and may use a nestbox. 

Starlings also lay blue eggs, but you can easily see the difference because they are more significant than bluebird eggs. 

What other birds lay blue eggs?

Here is a list of some well-known birds that lay blue eggs. 

  1. Red-winged, Rusty, and Tricolored Blackbird
  2. Blue-footed Booby, Bluethroat, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Blue Grosbeak, Blue Mockingbird
  3. Gray Catbird
  4. American, Fish, Hawaiian, and Tamaulipas Crow
  5. Snowy Egret
  6. American, Lawrence’s, and Lesser Goldfinch
  7. Cassin’s Finch, House Finch, Oriental Greenfinch
  8. Great Blue Heron, Little Blue Heron
  9. Common Myna
  10. Aztec, Bicknell’s, Clay-colored, Dusky, Swainson’s, Varied, White-throated, and Wood Thrush
  11. Bay-breasted, Olive, and Yellow Warbler
  12. Eurasian Jackdaw, Eurasian Bullfinch
  13. Blue jays
  14. Eastern, Western, and Mountain Bluebirds
  15. Dunnock
  16. Goldfinches
  17. Starlings
  18. House Finches
  19. Red-winged Blackbirds
  20. Snowy Egrets 

Reasons Why These Birds Lay Blue Eggs

Now that you know what bird lays blue eggs, let’s look at why do these birds lay blue eggs.

Female birds have two’ ink cartridges’ in their reproductive system: biliverdin and protoporphyrin.

All birds possess these two molecules, but not all species use them.

The ones that do use it, however, produce beautifully colored eggshells. 

Biliverdin is the molecule that produces the blue and green pigment in eggshells.

The higher the concentration of biliverdin, the bluer the egg.

Protoporphyrin is the pigment that makes eggs red or brown or creates visible spots and speckles on the eggshells.

These ‘inks’ are added to the freshly formed shell in the last few hours of production. 

Interestingly enough, the color of the eggs will change through the laying cycle of birds that lay multiple eggs at a time. It is as if they’re running out of pigment, but in fact, it points to the mother bird running out of calcium and nutrients. 

Since 10% of the calcium in eggshells comes from the female, she needs extra calcium and nutrients while laying eggs. The eggdoesn’tvary in shade color if she doesn’t get any. 

So, now that you know how it works, let’s move on to why it let’scessary. 


A lot of animals in the wild are colored to blend in with their surroundings. If adult animals need it to escape from predators, fragile eggs need it even more. There are a lot of hungry predators out there looking for a quick snack. 

But, camouflage doesn’t really apply to blue eggs. It’s the eggs with neutral tones and markings that blend away into the nesting material.

If birds lay eggs out in a scraped nest or directly on the ground in open areas, camouflage is essential.

To add protection, these birds will often decorate their nests as a form of concealment. 

Temperature control 

Okay, this may make you go ‘huh?’ but bear with me. Eggs are delicate, and the radiation and heat from the sun can easily cause harm not only to the shell but also to the chick.

The darker the egg, the better protected it will be against UV radiation, but, on the flip side, the quicker it will heat up and possibly cause the death of an unhatched chick.

A lighter egg has less chance of overheating but is more exposed to UV radiation. 

Because of the connection between eggshell color and UV radiation and heat buildup, birds need to strike a balance between the color of their eggshells and the environment.

For example, birds that lay eggs in an exposed area will likely have lighter-colored eggshells. Eggs laid in Conversely, eggs sheltered from the sun will most likely have darker hues. 

As you can imagine, the process will take many generations to perfect. 

To recap, a study done to determine the function of different hues of eggshells found that pigments serve to reduce them: 

  • Damaging ultraviolet radiation 
  • The infrared radiation that heats the inside of the eggs

So to keep it simple, blue and other pigmented eggs regulate the effects of sunlight on the embryo/chick. 

Some Other Eggshell Color Clues 

We now know that the color of eggs gives us a clue about the amount of sunlight that reaches the bird’s nest.

But the colour of a bird’s eggshells can also give us some other important information. 

The health of the mother bird and chicks

The brighter the eggshell, the better the health and diet of the mother bird. This means the hatchlings will also be strong and healthy. 

Nest care habits

Typically, heavily camouflaged eggs are left unattended for more extended as parent birds go forage. In contrast, the more plain and noticeable eggs will be carefully guarded and watched by parents and thus have less need for camouflage. 

Mismatched siblings

If there is a dramatic difference between eggs in the same nest, it can indicate a brood parasite.

Birds like Brown-headed Cowbirds and common Cuckoos lay their eggs in nests of other birds to be raised as foster chicks.

So, if an egg is much larger or smaller than the rest or has a different color in the brood, it is most likely from a brood parasite. 

What About Patterns, Spots, and Blotches on Blue Eggs?

Speckled eggs are just another form of camouflage. You usually won’t find patterns, spots, and speckles on cavity nesters like the Eastern Bluebird, but open nesters and ground nesters are a different story.

Ground nesters such as ducks and geese; shorebirds like Avocets, Plovers, and Sandpipers; game birds including Turkey, Pheasant, and Grouse; and other species like Bobolink, Wood, and Hermit Thrushes will lay speckled eggs.

To guarantee the survival of their eggs, they rely on well-hidden and camouflaged eggs to make a predator’s job more difficult. 

Besides camouflage, a study at the University of Oxford found that blotches on eggs serve an additional function. That is to strengthen the eggshell. 

According to Andrew Gosler, Oliver R Connor, and Richard Bonsor, the pigment-related molecule protoporphyrin mentioned above also strengthens the eggshell.

The pigmentation compensates for any calcium deficiency and helps harden, especially the inner parts of the egg. 

We must mention that this study only presented preliminary findings but that no direct relationship between eggshell strength and protoporphyrin pigmentation has previously been noted. There are mountains of circumstantial evidence, however. 

Lastly, the spots and speckles on eggs can be used for identification. Remember those clever birds too lazy to build a nest or raise their young? The ones that lay their eggs in other birds’ nests?

Well, if the patterns on eggs differ from species to species, it will be easier to spot such egg trickery!

Observing Blue Eggs In A Nest

Sometimes we as bird enthusiasts can get so excited when we stumble onto a bird’s nest. We want to investigate and identify what bird species we’re looking at, and that is perfectly fine, within limits.

Observing the nest and the comings and goings of the mother bird and her partner is more than satisfactory. But one thing you do not want to do is disturb. 

We know it’s tempting to want to touch or handle the eggs, maybe even snap a quick picture.

But can you imagine what a panicked state the mother bird is in when you go poking around in the nest and touching her eggs?

You’re a mighty giant predator, and she doesn’t know if you plan on having her babies as scrambled eggs for breakfast or if you’re just inspecting the pattern on the egg. 

Even though you’re a curious birdwatcher, some signs will hint at what type of bird’s nest and egg you’re looking at. There’s no need to touch the egg or disturb the nest.

Look at the size, shape, color, markings, and finish of the eggs to guide you in the direction of the species of bird in question.

Also, small birds lay small eggs, while large birds will lay more giant eggs. All these clues will help you narrow down the species of bird. 

There’s an unwritten rule under birdwatchers to observe but not involve yourself. Stick to that rule, and the mamma bird and her eggs will be safe.

There are actually laws in North America that forbid the destruction of birds’ eggs and nests and the sale of any bird eggs. 

However, if it is a fledgling, leave it where you found it. You can distinguish between a nestling and a fledgling by the fluffiness and the fact that a beginner can grip your finger.

The fledgling phase occurs before the first flight, so the bird’s parents are most likely nearby looking after it. Don’t interfere in this process. 

Difference Between Regular-Colored Eggs And Blue Bird Eggs

While blue eggs may look quite different from regular white-colored eggs, there aren’t many significant differences. The color of the shell of eggs does not play a role in determining the characteristics. 

As we have said before, the blue color of the eggshell is because of the pigments on the inside of the body.

Specifically, the pigment responsible for the blue color is called biliverdin. 

When the eggs are smaller, the color becomes more vibrant, and the giant eggs have a more pale shade of blue. In reality, besides the color of the shell, there are no fundamental differences between these eggs. 

What Does The Color of The Shell Say About The Bird?

The shade of blue that the shell is doesn’t say much about the embryo. 

However, it does say a few things about the health of the parent birds. Eggs with, for example, eggplant egg shells are egg shells at the embryo’s parents are verembryo’sy birds. This may also mean that the bird from the egg will also have good health. 

If the egg’s color seems similar to the nest, so the egg is camouflaged, it can mean that the parent bird was not often present to protect the eggs. Additionally, if eggs from the same hatch have different colors, then this can mean a brood parasite is present. 

Time of Laying Eggs

Plenty of factors contribute to determining when a bird will lay its eggs. Typically, birds lay eggs when the weather is a bit warmer. Therefore, anywhere from the beginning of spring to the end of summer can be a possible time. 

We would again like to emphasize there’s no guarantee when the bird will lay its eggs. Factors such as the bird species, weather, and elevation play essential roles in the timing. You could get a good idea of this timing for a species if you study a bird for a while. 


There’s your answer to what bird lays blue eggs:

And you can see over 20 types of birds lay blue eggs.

Bird eggs are as distinct as the birds themselves, and blue eggs only form a small part of the colors you can expect to see.

Birds can lay eggs in different white, tan, turquoise, teal, brick-red, and even pink hues! 

Even the textures and coatings differ. For example, you’ll find some soft eggs while others will be shiny, bumpy, and smooth.

Then, of course, you may even find some Jackson Pollock-worthy spots, specks, and scars on some eggs. Mother nature can be a real show-off, right?

Of course, these patterns aren’t just for camouflage; they also strengthen the eggshell and make it possible to identify any brood parasites. 

Scientists are still searching for more precise answers. What may other reasons be behind the blue tones of birds’ eggs or the specks and blotches?

We may know much more about this subject in the next ten years.

But, the more we understand about birds, eggs, and how the environment and natural selections impact them, the better we can help conserve our feathery friends. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Let’s look at some other questions that may have popped into your mind about birds and their eggs. 

What birds lay eggs on the ground?

Ground-nesting birds like ostrich, emu, tinamou, and pelicans lay their eggs in a scrape, while shorebirds like terns, gulls, and puffins all nest on the ground.

Some penguins, like gentoo penguins, also nest on the ground. 

Ducks, geese, and swans also nest on the ground because their young can walk and swim straight after hatching. 

You will also find weak fliers like quail, pheasant, and partridge nesting on the ground. 

Are tiffany blue and robin egg blue the same?

Robin egg blue is also called eggshell blue or lost egg blue. It is a greenish-blue color similar to the egg shade laid by the American robin. Tiffany blue is a more light-medium tone of robin egg blue. 

Is Robin egg blue the same as teal? 

Robin egg blue and teal are both shades of cyan – one of the subtractive primary colors. Both hues have a greenish-blue tint, but teal is darker than Robin egg blue. 

What breed of duck lays blue eggs?

Magpies and Ancona are two types of ducks that lay blue eggs.

Which Bird’s Egg is Blue?

You might have picked up some names from the long list of birds we have written about before in our article.

Some common birds that lay blue eggs are Eastern Bluebird, Dunnock, American Robin, Blue Jay, and Great Blue Heron. 

Many more birds have this characteristic, but they are not common in most parts of the world.

Why do Blue Jays have blue eggs? And do they lay eggs of different colors?

The reason why Blue Jays may lay blue eggs is the same as the other birds, the primary biliverdin pigment that is responsible for causing the blue egg.

Sometimes other pigments may also be the primary ones which are why the color can also have a tint of green. In other cases, blue jays can lay regular white eggs as well. 

Are Robin’s eggs blue?

Robin’s eggs it lays are a beautiful blue color.

What kind of Robin lays blue eggs?

There are around 65 species of Robins. So, do all these Robins lay blue eggs? No, only one type of Robin does this. And that is the American Robin. However, there are about seven species of American Robin. This is quite So, this mon misconception that people have about Robins. 

What other colors can a bird’s eggs be?

When you buy bird’s eggs from the grocery store, you usually get eggs with white or light orangish-brown shells.

However, there are more varieties of eggs in terms of colors.

Two primary pigments mixed with calcium carbonate can produce a wide range of beautiful egg shades. 

Eggs can be a dark blue to a light emerald and even a deep brown shell. 

How do the colors protect the eggs from the sun?

The eggs of birds can be protected from very harsh sunlight by the color of the eggshell. However, when used to direct sunlight, eggs can be easily damaged because of the intense heat and radiation from the sun, affecting the incubation period. 

Eggs with darker-colored shells can provide decent protection from UV radiation, which is harmful radiation from the sun. However, darker-colored eggs absorb more thermal radiation so that they can overheat, and many mutations can happen. 

Lighter-colored eggs have better protection from heat, so the embryo will not have any related issues. However, it provides weaker protection against ultraviolet radiation, which can cause severe damage in some cases. 

The color of birds’ eggs will vary depending on the environmental conditions where the egg will be laid. 

What wild birds lay small blue eggs?

There are quite a few wild birds that lay small blue eggs. Some wild birds are Mountain bluebirds, House Finch, Warblers, etc. Regardless of being small, some of these eggs are light blue, and some have brown splotches and patterns. 

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