There are approximately 11,000 bird species from all over the globe, much more species than mammals, reptiles, and amphibians. Some are masters of the gliding arts, while others can barely take to the air. Birds aren’t just beautiful, winged creatures; they’re incredibly diverse too!
From the bee hummingbird native to the Cuban archipelago to the bald eagles of North America, our winged friends vary in shape and habitat but, most significantly, size and color.
In this article, I’ll soar you through the main features of some of the most spectacular big blue birds of our world today.
Amazing Big Blue Birds Around the World
Great Blue Herons
Scientific Name: Ardea herodias
Length: 36–53 in
Wingspan: 66–84 in
Weight: 4-8 lb
Feather Colors: Concord, blue-purple
Colorations and Identification: The largest North American heron and the second-largest blue bird on the list, the great blue heron, is a giant of the sky.
Their necks, legs, and bills are incredibly long, and their wingspan can measure up to an impressive 7ft. Great blue herons have bluish-gray backs, white heads, and a broad black stripe over each eye.
Distribution and Habitat: Great blue herons inhabit saltwater and freshwater bodies such as lakes, ponds, meadows, and wetlands, to name a few.
Nesting: Like most birds, great blue herons nest on trees, but you can find their saucer-like cradles on the ground, in mangroves, or even in bushes.
These nests are usually made from sticks and lined with reeds, moss, pine needles, and dry grass.
Scientific Name: Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus
Length: 40 in
Wingspan: 51-60 in
Weight: 2.5-4 lb
Feather Colors: Bright blue
Colorations and Identification: As their name implies, blue macaws are birds with blue plumage. They are the world’s largest parrots, measuring nearly 40 inches from the tip of their tails to the top of their heads and weighing close to 4 pounds.
Like other parrots, they have two toes facing frontward and two backward. A closer look reveals bright yellow feathers that line blue macaws’ hooked beaks, and a yellow ring of the same shade circles their eyes.
Distribution and Habitat: Also known as the hyacinth macaws, this large blue bird can be spotted in the eastern and central parts of the South American continent.
Normally, they thrive in partially exposed woodland habitats like palm swamps. Also, they like to avoid the thicker forests, resting on canopies during the hot days.
Nesting: Hyacinth Macaws tend to nest in large pre-existing holes in trees, where the female usually lays 2-3 eggs. They prefer palm trees or even rocky cliffs.
Read Also: Pink-colored Birds
Scientific Name: Pavo cristatus
Length: 35-50 in
Wingspan: 31-60 in
Weight: 6-13 lb
Feather Colors: Shimmering blue and green
Colorations and Identification: As the male of the peafowl bird species, (Indian) peacocks have iridescent blue feathers that shimmer in the light and almost look blue-green.
They have a black and blue crest, white stripes above and below each black eye, and each ocellus of their incredible 5ft long tail has a bluish-black center and turquoise brown and green rings.
Distribution and Habitat: The peacock occupies the Indian subcontinent and the dry parts of Sri Lanka’s lowlands. They inhabit semi-desert grasslands, moist and dry deciduous forests, and scrublands.
In addition, peacocks usually prefer to live in areas with a nearby water source.
Nesting: Peacocks don’t build nests; peahens do. They scrape the ground to make a slight indent, where they can place sticks and leaves to act as a cushion for their eggs. However, if there are predators near, they’ll build a nest in a tree instead.
Scientific Name: Balaeniceps rex
Length: 39-55 in
Wingspan: 90-102 in
Weight: 8-15 lb
Feather Colors: Blue-gray, slate, white, dark gray
Colorations and Identification: Named for their large shoe-shaped bill, shoebill storks have a pale blue plumage and stand more than 4ft tall. They have long legs and HUGE feet that measure up to 7.3 inches!
Distribution and Habitat: Shoebill storks are found in the tropical regions of Central Africa. They are attracted to wetlands, hence, live along marshes and freshwater swamps.
Although less frequently, they can also be seen in rice fields and flooded plantations.
Nesting: Since shoebill storks live near bodies of water, they lay their eggs there. You can spot a nest floating over some vegetation or in the deeper parts of swamps (where the long grass and plants help them take cover from nasty predators).
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Scientific Name: Cochlearius cochlearius
Length: 21-22 in
Wingspan: 30 in
Weight: 1.3-1.5 lb
Feather Colors: Bluish gray
Colorations and Identification: The boat-billed Heron is another giant blue bird that can grow up to 22 inches tall.
They have off-white, deep blue, and burnt orange underparts, a crown with long black feathers, and a somewhat flat black and yellow bill. Their forehead and cheeks are white, beautifully combined with their black eyes and bluish-gray wings.
Distribution and Habitat: Boat-billed herons are lowland species that reside in the mangroves, marshes, lakes, and creeks of Central and South America. They live in forests filled with water and trees that typically hang over swamps.
Nesting: Boat-billed herons nest in mangroves, especially on the branches and trees. These large blue-colored birds mainly place nests a few meters above the swampy ground, closer to dense vegetation (made from leafy branch sticks)
Victoria Crowned Pigeons
Scientific Name: Goura victoria
Length: 29-31 in
Wingspan: 28 in
Weight: 7-8 lb
Feather Colors: Steely blue, black
Colorations and Identification: As the largest pigeon species in the world (and arguably the most beautiful), Victoria crowned pigeons can weigh up to 8 pounds and grow to 31 inches long. Their body is covered with dark blue feathers and a deep maroon plumage for their underparts.
A tiny black mask cuts across each of their bright red eyes, and their sharp hooked beaks help them with their forage. Their white-tipped net-like crests are a unique feature that makes these big blue pigeons stand out.
Distribution and Habitat: Found in Indonesia, these ground-dwelling pigeons are also native to New Guinea and the islands that surround the region. They live in swampy and moist lowland forests as well as sago forests.
Nesting: Female Victoria crowned pigeons lay their eggs into nests they place on rainforest trees up to 50ft above ground level. Their nests are made up of tightly-woven palm leaves with sticks and stems.
Scientific Name: Megaceryle alcyon
Length: 12-15 in
Wingspan: 19-23 in
Weight: 4-6.5 oz
Feather Colors: Blue-gray
Colorations and Identification: The belted kingfisher can be recognized by their characteristic blue/gray feathers that cover from their white-spotted tail and wings to their nape, where a white collar is formed around their neck.
In addition, they have a bushy crest, a long sharp bill, and a bluish-gray band across their chest, while the rest of their abdomen is white.
Distribution and Habitat: These long-beaked creatures are pretty common along the waterbodies (lakes, shorelines, and streams) of North America, except for the Northern-most regions of Alaska and Canada.
When the cold winter comes freezing up the water, belted kingfishers migrate to the continent’s southern areas to get some running water for fishing.
Nesting: Belted kingfishers tend to dig burrows into rivers, creeks, or sandbanks, where they nest their eggs at the end of them. Their eggs are usually glossy and pure white in color.
Blue and Yellow Macaws
Scientific Name: Ara ararauna
Length: 30–34 in
Wingspan: 41-45 in
Weight: 2–3 lb
Feather Colors: Blue and gold
Colorations and Identification: As their name implies, blue and yellow macaws have light blue plumage covering their backs while their underparts are almost entirely yellow.
Their foreheads are typically green, which fades into their blue backs. Their beaks are large and black, eyes are brightly colored, and white feathers with black strikes cover most of their face.
Distribution and Habitat: This blue and yellow bird is native to Central and South America and can be found in parts of Panama, Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, and Paraguay. They primarily occupy the tropical rainforests, wetlands, and savannahs of the region.
Nesting: Like the hyacinth macaw, the blue and yellow macaw uses holes that have already been made by other birds. They also nest atop tall dead trees. It is safe to say that these parrots are a little lazy.
Scientific Name: Aphelocoma insularis
Length: 13 in
Wingspan: 13-14 in
Weight: 4-4.5 oz
Feather Colors: Deep blue, white, and black
Colorations and Identification: The island scrub-jay of the Crow family is a dark blue and comparably larger jay. Their legs and feet are black, the plumage on their backs is deep blue, and their necks, flanks, and bellies are covered with white feathers.
Distribution and Habitat: Native to the Santa Cruz Island, these bluish white birds live along chaparrals and oaky woodlands. Due to this, they are regarded as one of the most range-restricted songbirds in North America,
Nesting: Island scrub-jays breed often breed alone as pairs instead of as a flock. They like to place their thick cup-like nests in oak trees at least 6ft above the ground or in shrubs.
Scientific Name: Egretta tricolor
Length: 23-27 in
Wingspan: 38 in
Weight: 0.7-0.9 lb
Feather Colors: Bluish gray, white, lavender
Colorations and Identification: Tricolored herons are large blue birds, standing up to 27 inches in height. Their legs are long and yellow, and their beaks are thin, long, and sharp looking. Their necks are also long and usually curved, covered in maroon feathers.
A streak of white feathers extends from just below their bills to their white undersides. Lastly, they have striking red eyes.
Distribution and Habitat: Dwelling in the southern and eastern parts of North America, tricolored herons live in mangroves, bays, shallow waters, and coastlines.
They can also be seen in the West Indies and along the Coastal areas of Central America and South America.
Nesting: Tricolored herons build their nests in protected, dense shrubs or trees. They nest in colonies and place these nests made from thick, fine twigs and cordgrass more than 10ft above the ground or water.
Scientific Name: Cyanocitta
Length: 11-13 in
Wingspan: 13-17 in
Weight: 2.5-3.5 oz
Feather Colors: Blue, white, and black
Colorations and Identification: Blue jays are large songbirds with light blue-colored tails with black dashes. A black belt stretches across both eyes and over their short cone-shaped beaks. Also, blue jays have blue feathers that cover their crown, crest, and back.
This same pattern can be seen on their wings but in addition to some extra white stripes. The rest of their body is white, except for the black band that circles their nape to their breast.
Distribution and Habitat: Blue jays live in oakwood trees across North America. You can even find them in town parks, near shorelines, or in the garden of a suburban home!
Nesting: Blue jays usually nest in either tree that has cones (coniferous) or those whose leaves fall off each year (deciduous). These birds place their nests at a branch union or within the twigs of one up to 30ft above ground level.
The nests are made of weeds, twigs, grass, bark strips, and mud to hold it all together. Interestingly, these intelligent birds are noted to decorate their homes with paper and strings.
More Examples of Large Blue BIrds
- Yellow-crowned Night Herons
- Great Blue Turacos
- Little Blue Herons
- Blue-throated Macaws
- Vulturine Guineafowls
With this, we conclude our list of big blue birds.
With a body length of up to 55 inches, the largest blue bird in the world is the shoebill stork, while the biggest blue-colored bird in North America is the great blue heron at 53 inches in length.
If you are a persistent birdwatcher, you’ll probably be able to locate most of these beautiful flying creatures. Hopefully, this article will help you identify them with ease.
Thank you for reading! For the very end, here’s a recommendation for another popular bird article: California Large Birds.