Blue-colored birds are one of the prettiest and most elegant in the world.
Their plumage is associated with the sky and their elegance and charm can’t be denied. And some of those charming birds can grow to impressive sizes.
Examples of big blue birds include the great blue turaco, tricolored heron, reddish egret, hyacinth macaw, great blue heron, and many others.
The biggest blue bird in North America is the great blue heron with a wingspan of over 6.5 ft, while the biggest blue bird in the world is the shoebill with a wingspan of over 8.5 ft and a weight of over 15 lbs.
Here are their photos, sizes, and fun facts.
Table of Contents
Big Blue Birds
|Big Blue Birds||Wingspan||Length||Weight|
|Steller’s Jay||17.7-19 in||12-13 in||0.2-0.3 lb|
|Takahe||n/a||25 in||4-9.3 lb|
|Great Blue Turaco||28 in||28-30 in||1.7-2.7 lb|
|Vulturine Guineafowl||28 in||24-28 in||2.2-3.5 lb|
|Victoria Crowned Pigeon||28 in||29-31 in||7.7 lb|
|Boat-billed Heron||30 in||21 in||1 lb|
|Blue-throated Macaw||35.4 in||33 in||2-2.4 lb|
|Tricolored Heron||38 in||22-30 in||0.7-0.9 lb|
|Lear’s Macaw||39 in||27.5-29.5 in||2 lb|
|Agami Heron||40 in||28 in||1.1 lb|
|Little Blue Heron||40 in||25-30 in||0.7 lb|
|Yellow-crowned Night Heron||39.7-44 in||21.6-27.6 in||1.4-1.8 lb|
|Blue And Yellow Macaw||41-45 in||30–34 in||2–3 lb|
|Reddish Egret||46–49 in||27–32 in||0.8–1.9 lb|
|Hyacinth Macaw||51-60 in||39.3 in||2.6-3.7 lb|
|Indian Peafowl||31-63 in||77-89 in||6.1-13.2 lb|
|Great Blue Heron||66–79 in||36–54 in||4.0–7.9 lb|
|Shoebill||90.5-102.3 in||39-55 in||8.8-15.4 lb|
- Scientific Name: Cyanocitta stelleri
- Lifespan: up to 16 years
- Wingspan: 17.7-19 in
- Length: 12-13 in
- Weight: 0.2-0.3 lb
Steller’s jay is one of the largest jay species in North America. It is native to western North America and the mountains of Central America.
Steller’s jays have a wingspan of almost 19 inches and a length of 13 inches. These large dark jays are common in pine-oak and coniferous forests from Alaska to Nicaragua.
Steller’s jays have dark blue, black, or black-brown heads, rich blue primary feathers and tails, and silvery blue shoulders.
These big blue birds are large and conspicuous and have very harsh “shack-sheck-sheck” calls.
Similar to other jays, Steller’s jays are great at mimicking other birds including raptors like osprey, red-shouldered hawks, red-tailed hawks, etc.
They are omnivores that feed on seeds, nuts, berries, fruit, invertebrates, small rodents, eggs, and even small snakes.
Steller’s jays are also common around bird feeders, campgrounds, and picnic areas, looking for sunflower seeds, cracked corn, and their favorite, raw peanuts.
These birds are monogamous and were named after the German naturalist who first recorded them, Georg Wilhelm Steller.
- Scientific Name: Porphyrio hochstetteri
- Lifespan: 16-18 years
- Wingspan: n/a
- Length: 25 in
- Weight: 4-9.3 lb
Takahes are the largest living rails in the world, endemic to New Zealand. On average, they are about 2 ft long, can weigh up to 9.3 pounds, and have a height of 1 ft 8 in.
Both sexes look similar; males are slightly larger.
These stocky and powerful flightless birds have strong red legs and massive red beaks. Takahes also have dark royal blue heads, necks, and breasts, blue shoulders, and shades of iridescent turquoise and olive-green on their wings and backs.
They can be also identified by their quiet hooting contact calls or muted booms.
Although flightless, takahes have wings that they use during courtship rituals or to display aggression.
Scientists considered takahes extinct before rediscovering them in 1948, in the remote mountains of Fiordland, New Zealand. Their population has been slowly increasing, with around 440 birds recorded in October 2021.
Commonly found in alpine grassland habitats, these large birds are territorial and sedentary; when the winter comes, they might descend to the forests or scrubs.
Takahes are omnivores that mainly consume grass, shoots, and insects. Pairs are monogamous, stay together for life, and have a clutch of one to three buff eggs.
Great Blue Turaco
- Scientific Name: Corythaeola cristata
- Lifespan: around 30 years in captivity
- Wingspan: 28 in
- Length: 28-30 in
- Weight: 1.7-2.7 lb
With a length of up to 2.5 ft, a weight of up to 2.7 pounds, and a wingspan of around 2.3 ft, great blue turacos are the largest species of turaco in the world.
They are common in tropical rainforests of Africa, in Guinea, Sudan, Uganda, Tanzania, Western Kenya, DR Congo, and Angola.
Great blue turacos are big birds with gray-blue colors, upright blue-black crests, white chins, yellow beaks with orange-yellow tips, brown eyes, and black legs and feet.
They are social birds that form groups of 6-7 individuals. Not the best fliers, these big turacos will only pass short distances or soar down to lower levels of the forest.
Great blue turacos have two distinctive calls, a deep “jeeeow” and a rapid, cackling series of very loud notes.
During mating season males become more vocal and territorial, and both partners will take turns in incubating their two blue eggs.
Great blue turacos are omnivores that mostly feed on fruit leaves, flowers, buds, shoots, and occasionally insects.
- Scientific Name: Acryllium vulturinum
- Lifespan: 15 years
- Wingspan: 28 in
- Length: 24-28 in
- Weight: 2.2-3.5 lb
Vulturine guineafowl is the biggest species of guineafowl in the world. These birds can weigh up to 3.5 pounds and have a length of over 2.3 ft.
They are native to Eastern Africa, in countries like Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, and Tanzania.
Vulturine guineafowls are large birds with small naked heads, short wings, and round bodies. Adults have bright blue colors with black and white streaks and small white dots on their back feathers.
Vulturine guineafowl can be also identified by their long glossy blue and white hackles. Both sexes look alike; males are slightly larger.
They are social birds that form flocks consisting of over 20 birds and can be identified by their loud “chink-chink” calls.
Despite having wings, vulturine guineafowl will run instead of fly to escape danger.
They breed in dry and open habitats with scattered bushes and trees and lay four to eight cream-colored eggs.
They are named vulturine because their bald heads and necks resemble those of vultures. Vulturine guineafowls are also often called “royal guineafowl” because of their striking appearance.
These conspicuous black and blue birds are omnivores whose diet includes seeds, roots, tubers, grubs, rodents, small reptiles, insects, and even vegetation and fruits.
Victoria Crowned Pigeon
- Scientific Name: Goura victoria
- Lifespan: 20-25 years
- Wingspan: 28 in
- Length: 29-31 in
- Weight: 7.7 lb
With a weight of up to 7.7 pounds, Victoria crowned pigeons are the largest pigeons in the world. They got their name from the easy-to-recognize crest of lacy feathers on their heads and the British Queen Victoria.
Victoria crowned pigeons are deep blue-gray and have small black masks, elegant blue lace-like crests on their heads, maroon-red breasts, and red eyes.
Their calls include deep “hoota-hoota” sounds when attracting partners, “whup-up” calls when defending their territories, and deep muffled “ummm” when in contact with other individuals.
When taking off, these enormous bluish-gray birds will clap their wings very loudly. Their habitats include swamps and palm forests where they feed on fruits, berries, and seeds.
To seduce the female, a male will bow before her, wag his fanned tail, and make “booming noises”.
Victoria crowned pigeons are monogamous and will mate for life. And like other pigeons, they will produce “crop milk” to feed the chick in the first few days of its life.
- Scientific Name: Cochlearius cochlearius
- Lifespan: 10-15 years
- Wingspan: 30 in
- Length: 21 in
- Weight: 1 lb
Boat-billed herons are large nocturnal herons found in mangrove swamps of Central and South America. These stocky herons are nicknamed “boatbills” due to their oddly shaped beaks that resemble an overturned rowboat.
Boat-billed herons have grayish-blue backs, black-blue crowns, and chestnut-colored breasts. Their huge beaks are dark blue-black and their legs are green-yellow.
Boat-billed herons have high-pitched “pee-pee-pee” and deep croak calls; they might also use their beaks to make clapping-like sounds.
They will spend most of the day roosting in loose groups in the trees; when the night comes, they come out to hunt along lake and river edges. Thanks to their very sensitive beaks, they can locate their prey in murky waters.
Boat-billed herons are carnivores and mainly consume fish, shrimp, insects, small mammals, and amphibians.
These large blue birds are monogamous during the breeding season and both partners take care of the young.
- Scientific Name: Ara glaucogularis
- Lifespan: up to 80 years
- Wingspan: 35.4 in
- Length: 33 in
- Weight: 2-2.4 lb
Blue-throated macaws are large parrots that can be only found in Northern Bolivia in South America. They are often called by natives “barba azull” which means “blue beard” and refers to the bright blue coloration covering their throats.
These macaws are around 2.75 ft long and have a wingspan of almost 3 ft. Males tend to be slightly bigger than females.
Blue-throated macaws have turquoise blue heads, backs, outsides of wings, and tails, while the sides of their faces and chests are a bright yellow-gold. They also have blue and white stripes surrounding their eyes, which are separated from their black bills by a small patch of skin.
Their feet are zygodactylous – 2 toes point forward and 2 toes point backward.
These critically endangered parrots were considered extinct before being rediscovered in 1992 in South America. According to some estimates, there are around 400 of these birds in the wild.
They are usually in small groups of 10 or less and have very loud screeching alarm calls that you will probably hear before you get to their habitat.
Blue-throated macaws are herbivores that feed on seeds, fruits, nuts, and berries.
They are also monogamous birds that nest in cavities of palm trees and produce a clutch of one to three eggs.
- Scientific Name: Egretta tricolor
- Lifespan: up to 17 years in the wild
- Wingspan: 38 in
- Length: 22-30 in
- Weight: 0.7-0.9 lb
Tricolored herons are long-legged and long-necked herons that breed in swamps and other coastal habitats of Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and South and North Carolina.
Tricolored herons have blue-gray heads, backs, wings, and necks, and white bellies. During the breeding season, they get long, blue, filamentous plumes on their heads and necks, and buff ones on their backs.
Their alarm call sounds like a repeated “aahrr“.
Tricolored herons are carnivores that mainly feed on fish, amphibians, insects, and crustaceans. They will stalk in shallow or deeper waters or dart around erratically and chase after the prey.
They resemble little blue herons and reddish egrets – the main differences are sinuous necks and the white bellies of tricolored herons.
Tricolored herons are social birds that nest in colonies together with other heron species. They will use sticks to build their nests in trees and shrubs and lay 3-7 eggs.
- Scientific Name: Anodorhynchus leari
- Lifespan: 30-50 years
- Wingspan: 39 in
- Length: 27.5-29.5 in
- Weight: 2 lb
Lear’s macaws, also known as indigo macaws, are large Brazilian parrots that are almost 2.5 ft long and can weigh over 2 pounds. They were named after the 19th-century poet, Edward Lear, famous for painting macaws.
Lear’s macaws can be identified by their rich blue bodies with small yellow patches of skin at the base of the heavy, black beaks, orange-yellow eye rings, and dark gray feet.
Lear’s macaws resemble bigger hyacinth macaws – the main differences are lear’s smaller size, brighter plumage, and different patch shapes around the beak.
When flying or sitting perched, lear’s macaws will emit a crowlike “greeee-ah” call.
These big blue birds forage in trees and on the ground and mainly consume Licurí palm nuts, up to 350 a day. Their diet also includes agave flowers and maize.
Their habitat includes arid shrublands and savannahs in northeast Bahia, Brazil.
Lear’s macaws are monogamous and have a clutch of 2-3 eggs per year.
These beautiful birds are considered critically endangered and have an estimated total population of around 1,200 birds; 250 of those are mature individuals.
- Scientific Name: Agamia agami
- Lifespan: around 13 years
- Wingspan: 40 in
- Length: 28 in
- Weight: 1.1 lb
Agami herons are large herons breeding in Central and South America. They are also called “soco beija-flor” in Brazil, meaning “hummingbird heron,” due to their colorful patterns.
These enormous birds are almost 2.5 feet long and have a wingspan of around 3.3 ft, making them a lot bigger than Victoria crowned pigeons.
Agami herons have pale blue color on their lower backs, crowns, and sides of the neck; wings are greenish-blue, while their underpants are chestnut-colored.
Their preferred habitats include swamp forests, mangroves, forest streams, and freshwater wetlands of Mexico, Honduras, Panama, Columbia, Peru, Bolivia, and Brazil.
They can occasionally mix with other species and form very large colonies, with thousands of nests.
Agami herons are rather quiet birds and make some snoring or rattling sounds.
They are carnivores, stalking their prey in shallow waters. Their diet mainly consists of fish, frogs, snails, and small reptiles.
Agami herons are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Little Blue Heron
- Scientific Name: Egretta caerulea
- Lifespan: up to 7 years
- Wingspan: 40 in
- Length: 25-30 in
- Weight: 0.7 lb
Little blue herons breed in the Gulf states of the United States. They are commonly found around marshes and estuaries in the Southeast.
Both sexes look similar while the juveniles are completely white in their first year.
Little blue herons are blue-gray and have purplish-blue heads and necks. Their legs and feet are dark blue-green, while their long pointed pale blue grayish beaks have dark tips.
Little blue herons also have a row of “teeth” along their middle toes that they use to scratch their heads, necks, and throats.
They nest in colonies, often around other species of herons, egrets, and wading birds.
Little blue herons usually forage alone, stalking their prey methodically in shallow water.
They are carnivores that feed on fish, frogs, lizards, snakes, turtles, spiders, crustaceans, small rodents, and insects.
Yellow-crowned Night Heron
- Scientific Name: Nyctanassa violacea
- Lifespan: up to 6 years
- Wingspan: 39.7-44 in
- Length: 21.6-27.6 in
- Weight: 1.4-1.8 lb
Yellow-crowned night herons are stocky wading birds with long necks, large heads, and long heavy black beaks. These enormous blue birds can have a wingspan of up to 3 ft 8 in and weigh up to 1.8 pounds.
Yellow-crowned night herons are smooth gray-blue with bold black-and-white head patterns. They also have pale yellow crowns on their heads, giving them their common name.
Yellow-crowned night herons can be seen year-round in Southern Florida and Louisiana; in other southeastern US states, they can be seen during their breeding season.
They are vocal birds with many sounds. Their most common alarm call is a loud and sharp “quawk.” Males and females may also use “yup-yup” and “huh” calls during courtship.
They tend to roost in trees during the day and feed during the night, mainly on crabs and crayfish. They can be often seen walking slowly or standing still in shallow waters, waiting for their prey to approach.
Yellow-crowned night herons might also consume some insects, fish, worms, lizards, snakes, small rodents, and even small birds.
Blue And Yellow Macaw
- Scientific Name: Ara ararauna
- Lifespan: 65-70 years
- Wingspan: 41-45 in
- Length: 30–34 in
- Weight: 2–3 lb
Blue-and-yellow macaws are large South American parrots that are also known as blue-and-gold macaws.
Their habitats include forests, woodlands, and savannahs of tropical South America, mainly Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, Brazil, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Paraguay.
Blue and yellow macaws are hard to miss with their gorgeous turquoise blue bodies, green foreheads, and dark lemon-yellow chests. Their feet are gray, their beaks are black, and their eyes are pale yellow.
Striking colors, ability to talk, availability in the marketplace, and close relationships with humans, make them a popular pet choice.
In case you decide to get one, remember that these parrots can have a long life, up to 70 years and more.
Macaws are monogamous and remain together for life. While flying, pairs will stay close together with their wings nearly touching.
Blue and yellow macaws love to eat seeds in the wild – they drop a lot of them on the forest ground which promotes forest growth.
- Scientific Name: Egretta rufescens
- Lifespan: up to 12 years
- Wingspan: 46–49 in
- Length: 27–32 in
- Weight: 0.8–1.92 lb
Reddish egrets are large birds that can reach 2.6 ft in length and have a wingspan of over 4 ft. Their body mass ranges from 0.8 to 1.9 pounds.
Reddish egrets have long legs and necks, elongated pink beaks with black tips, and bluish-black legs and feet. There are two color morphs; in one, adults are slate blue and have reddish heads and necks with shaggy plumes.
Reddish egrets are the rarest egret species in North America. The best place to see them is on the Gulf Coast, particularly in South Texas and the Florida Keys.
According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, most of the 1,500-2,000 pairs in the USA are found in Texas.
Although usually silent, their alarm calls sound like a raucous “raaaaahhh”.
Similar to other herons, these big blue birds will slowly stalk in water or run using wings to reduce the glare in the water. After spotting the prey, reddish egrets will spear them with their long sharp beaks.
They are carnivores that feed on fish, insects, frogs, and crustaceans.
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- Scientific Name: Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus
- Lifespan: 50 years in the wild
- Wingspan: 51-60 in
- Length: 39.3 in
- Weight: 2.6-3.7 lb
Hyacinth macaws are big blue birds that are native to central and eastern South America. They are over 3 feet long which makes them the largest macaw and the largest flying parrot species in the world.
Hyacinth macaws are entirely cobalt blue, lighter above, and might occasionally have blue-gray neck feathers. They also have yellow rings around their eyes and under their beaks.
Their habitats include scrublands on the outskirts of the rainforest, grasslands, and lightly forested regions of Brazil, Paraguay, and Bolivia.
Despite the frightening appearance due to their enormous size and powerful, sharp hooked bills, hyacinth macaws have quite gentle nature.
They are herbivores that mainly feed on seeds, fruits, nuts, and berries.
These parrots are social birds that form groups of up to 8 individuals and use different vocalizations, ranging from deep guttural growls and loud screeching to high trills when communicating.
Hyacinth macaws are endangered and some estimates claim there are 2,500-5,000 of them in the wild. They were even released in Florida, USA, but haven’t managed to form a permanent population there.
Besides humans (illegal trade), main bird predators, toco toucans, jays, and crows, will eat macaw eggs.
People keep them as pets with the price for a young hyacinth macaw reaching well over $10,000.
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- Scientific Name: Pavo cristatus
- Lifespan: 20 years
- Wingspan: 31-63 in
- Length: 77-89 in
- Weight: 6.1-13.2 lb
The Indian peafowl are among the largest and heaviest members of the Phasianidae family that includes pheasants, partridges, junglefowl, chickens, turkeys, Old World quail, and peafowl.
They are also known as the common peafowl or blue peafowl and are native to the forests and farmlands of the Indian subcontinent.
These large domesticated birds have been also introduced to many parts of the world.
Indian peafowls are brightly colored blue-green birds. Males are iridescent blue and have ornamental greenish upper tail feathers when courting females. Females have shorter tails, iridescent green necks, and browner plumage.
The Indian blue peafowl is considered a sacred bird and a national bird of India. It symbolizes re-growth and rejuvenation, royalty, respect, honor, and integrity.
A group of peafowl is called ostentation, or pride, which certainly fits their appearance. Male peafowls are called peacocks, while the females are peahens.
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Great Blue Heron
- Scientific Name: Ardea herodias
- Lifespan: 15 years
- Wingspan: 66–79 in
- Length: 36–54 in
- Weight: 4.0–7.9 lb
Great blue herons are one of the biggest blue birds in the world.
They are also the largest herons native to North America and can be found throughout the United States, mainly around wetlands.
With a wingspan of up to 6.6 ft, these blue-winged birds are hard to miss.
Great blue herons are blue-gray and have large yellow-orange beaks, short black plumes on their heads, and black and chestnut patterns on the shoulders.
During the flight, they will hold their neck in an S-shape with legs trailing behind.
Great blue herons are monogamous only for a single season and will go through some interesting courtship rituals, locking and rubbing their bills on the feathers of the other bird before mating.
Both parents will take turns in incubating the eggs.
They nest in colonies called heronries that can occasionally have more than 500 nests.
Great blue herons are carnivores that feed on fish, amphibians, reptiles, invertebrates, small mammals, and even other birds.
These wading birds will slowly stalk their prey in shallow waters, striking with lightning speed, catching them with their long and sharp beaks.
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- Scientific Name: Balaeniceps rex
- Lifespan: up to 36 years in the wild
- Wingspan: 90.5-102.3 in
- Length: 39-55 in
- Weight: 8.8-15.4 lb
Shoebills are the biggest blue birds in the world.
They can grow to a height of 5 feet, length of almost 4.6 feet, have a wingspan of 8.5 feet, and weigh as much as 15.4 pounds.
Shoebills’ most prominent feature, besides their enormous size, is the huge beak that ranges from 7.4 to 9.4 in, making it the third-longest, after pelicans’ and large storks’.
Shoebills are blue-gray and have darker slaty-gray flight feathers. People often call them “whaleheads” due to their oversized shoe-shaped beaks. Some might even have exotic pale blue eyes that are quite mesmerizing to stare into.
They are common around freshwater swamps and marshes of East Africa, in Uganda, Sudan, the eastern DR Congo, Zambia, Kenya, Ethiopia, Botswana, and Tanzania.
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People in the 1840s described it as “…an extraordinary bird, as big as a big camel, with a bill like a pelican’s, though wanting a pouch.“
Shoebills are carnivores that mainly feed on fish, and occasionally frogs, snakes, snails, rodents, turtles, and even baby crocodiles.
They might also emit clattering sounds that people describe as a machine gun being fired.
Illegal trading, high demand, and extremely rare breeding in captivity have placed these fascinating birds on a list of endangered species. Some estimates claim a population ranging from 5,000 to 8,000 individuals.
If you enjoyed our list of big blue birds, feel free to check our list of small blue birds.
This concludes our article examining some of the largest blue birds.
Examples include several types of parrots, herons, and pigeons, among others.
Hopefully next time you see any of these birds, you will recognize them with ease!