Blue bird eggs with brown spots may seem rare and unusual, but there are plenty of bird species that lay them. Some examples include blue jays, red-winged blackbirds, common ravens, American crows, house finches, and many others.
Their blue color comes from a pigment called biliverdin which produces shades of blue and green and gives them their unique colors. Their reddish-brown spots come from a pigment called protoporphyrin.
Whether you’re an avid bird watcher, farmer, or just someone that came across these eggs in their backyard, this article will provide you with the photos and information you need to identify them.
Table of Contents
Blue Bird Eggs With Brown Spots
1. Red-winged Blackbird
The red-winged blackbird, one of the most common birds in North America, breeds from Alaska and Newfoundland down to Florida and the Gulf of Mexico.
With an estimated population of over 250 million during peak years, spotting their blue eggs speckled with brown is highly likely. They build their nests in marsh vegetation, bushes, saplings near water, or dense grass in fields.
The female red-winged blackbird constructs open-cup nests using grass, leaves, and mud – these nests have a diameter of 4-7 inches and are 3-7 inches deep.
The eggs of red-winged blackbirds are pale blue-green to gray with brown or black spots, mostly located on the larger end. These smooth, oval eggs have a slight gloss and measure about 1 inch long and 0.7 inches wide.
Females incubate the eggs for 10 to 12 days, and both parents feed the young. The hatchlings, born naked, blind, and lacking coordination, leave the nests 11 to 14 days after hatching.
Red-winged blackbirds lay eggs predominantly between April and August and have 1-2 broods per year. Unfortunately, their eggs are often targeted by predators such as snakes, weasels, minks, raccoons, and even smaller birds like marsh wrens. Brown-headed cowbirds also parasitize their nests.
Read More: Examples of brown speckled bird eggs
2. Cedar Waxwing
The cedar waxwing, known for its striking appearance, can be found in the Northeast. These monogamous birds got their common name from the waxy red tips on their secondary wing feathers.
Both male and female waxwings participate in building their nests, which are made of grass, twigs, bark, and hair – the female ultimately decides on the nest location.
It takes them around 5-6 days and over 2,500 trips to complete the nest. Sometimes, they even incorporate material stolen from other birds’ nests, like eastern kingbirds, orioles, vireos, and yellow warblers.
Cedar waxwings lay 2-6 bluish-gray eggs with brown and black spots. Their speckled eggs have a smooth surface, oval shape, and little gloss, measuring approximately 0.8 inches long and 0.6 inches wide.
Females incubate the eggs for 11 to 13 days, and they typically have one or two broods per year. The young leave the nest 14 to 18 days after hatching.
3. Blue Jay
Blue jays, small songbirds native to eastern and central parts of North America, breed in deciduous and coniferous forests. Their mating season lasts from mid-March to July, providing an opportunity to spot their beautiful blue eggs with brown spots during summer.
Both males and females contribute to building open-cup nests in trees. Blue jays lay 2-7 bluish or light brown eggs with brown spots once a year. These monogamous birds have eggs measuring around 1.2 inches long and 0.8 inches wide.
Females incubate for 16-18 days while males provide food. The young are born underdeveloped and fledge 17-21 days after hatching. Some individuals remain with their families for a few months.
Unfortunately, their eggs and young are susceptible to predation by squirrels, cats, snakes, crows, raccoons, opossums, and even other jays.
4. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
The blue-gray gnatcatcher, a tiny songbird, breeds in open deciduous forests and shrublands across southern Ontario, eastern and southwestern USA, and Mexico. After pairing, both male and female gnatcatchers select a spot to build their nest.
Blue-gray gnatcatchers typically build multiple nests during the summer, with males creating additional ones while females complete the main nests.
They construct cone-shaped nests on horizontal tree branches, a few feet above the ground, using grass, weeds, bark, hair, and feathers. To enhance camouflage, they cover the outside of the nest with spiderwebs and pieces of lichen, protecting against predation, mite infestations, and cowbird parasitism.
They lay 3-5 pale blue eggs dotted with reddish-brown that measure 0.5 inches long and 0.4 inches wide. Both parents incubate the eggs for 11 to 15 days, with females devoting more time to raising the young while males provide food and feed them.
The chicks are born naked, blind, and helpless, leaving the nests 10-15 days after hatching. Blue-gray gnatcatchers may raise two broods per season.
5. House Finch
The house finch, a medium-sized finch, can be found year-round throughout the USA. These birds breed in urban and suburban areas, as well as semi-open regions of the West.
They build cup-shaped nests using various materials like stems, leaves, twigs, wool, and feathers – the nests are typically 3-7 inches in diameter and around 2 inches deep.
House finches lay pale blue eggs with fine dark brown, black, and pale purple dots, concentrated at the larger ends. These eggs are smooth, oval-shaped, with a slight gloss, measuring about 0.7 inches long and 0.5 inches wide.
The females incubate the eggs for 13 to 14 days, and the young leave the nest after 12 to 15 days.
House finches can lay eggs 1 to 6 times per year, between February and August. While brown-headed cowbirds may lay their eggs in house finch nests, their young rarely survive due to the insufficient protein provided by the finches’ seed and fruit diet.
6. Pine Grosbeak
Pine grosbeaks, one of the largest finch species, breed in the boreal forests and high mountains of North America, Europe, and Asia. They choose evergreen trees for nesting, typically near the trunk and 6-16 feet off the ground, where dense vegetation can provide camouflage.
Females construct their cup-shaped nests using twigs, roots, grasses, lichen, evergreen needles, and feathers. The nests have a diameter of around 6-9 inches and are 3-4 inches deep.
Pine grosbeaks lay 3-4 pale blue eggs with dark brown spots and markings. These eggs are approximately 1 inch long and 0.7 inches wide.
Females incubate the eggs for 13-14 days while males provide food during that period. Both parents participate in caring for the chicks, and the adults even have throat pouches that enable them to carry more food.
The young hatch without feathers and with limited mobility. They leave the nest after approximately 13 to 20 days.
7. Northern Mockingbird
Northern mockingbirds, known for their intelligence and mimicking abilities, can be found throughout North America. They breed in southeastern Canada, the USA, northern parts of Mexico, the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands, and the Greater Antilles.
These birds thrive in areas with open ground and shrubby vegetation, such as parks, cultivated land, and suburban areas. Northern mockingbirds use twigs, grasses, leaves, aluminum foil, and even cigarette filters to construct their nests.
Males often build the foundation of several nests, while females choose the main nest and complete the lining. Northern mockingbirds lay 2-6 pale blue or greenish eggs with splotches of reddish-brown concentrated at the larger end.
They usually lay the eggs 3-10 feet off the ground, sometimes even up to 60 feet. The eggs measure around 0.9 inches long and 0.7 inches wide.
Females incubate for 12 to 13 days. After hatching, the chicks are naked and blind, and both parents take turns feeding them. The young leave the nest approximately 12 days after hatching, but it takes them about a week more to learn how to fly properly.
Northern mockingbirds may raise 2-3 broods per year. Brown-headed cowbirds often parasitize their nests, and some studies have shown that mockingbirds are more likely to reject intruder eggs later in the breeding season. Other predators of their eggs include blue jays, fish crows, red-tailed hawks, snakes, squirrels, and cats.
8. Common Raven
Common ravens are large all-black birds and one of the most widespread songbirds in North America. They are highly intelligent and adaptable, thriving in different habitats ranging from deserts to high Arctic tundra.
After performing various aerial acrobatics to display their intelligence and ability to provide food, the pair will form and begin building their nest. Common ravens mate for life, although instances of males visiting other females’ nests have been observed.
Common ravens place their nests on various structures such as rock cliffs, ledges, trees, power-line towers, telephone poles, billboards, and bridges. They construct deep bowl-shaped nests using sticks, twigs, roots, mud, bark, and fur.
After approximately nine days of work, their nests, often uneven, measure around 5 feet in diameter and 2 feet high. Females lay 3-7 dull greenish-blue eggs with brown spots once per year. The eggs are about 1.8 inches long and 1.3 inches wide.
Females incubate the eggs for 20-25 days while males provide food. The young fledge after 35-42 days from hatching and stay with their parents for another 6 months.
Common raven eggs can be typically found from late February. However, not all eggs will hatch as they are preyed upon by hawks, eagles, owls, martens, and other animals.
Read More: What bird species lay eggs in rocks and crevices?
9. Scarlet Tanager
Scarlet tanagers are medium-sized songbirds found in thick deciduous woodlands and suburban areas of North America. While they primarily breed in oak-rich deciduous forests in the eastern parts of the continent, they can also be found in woodlands, suburban areas, parks, and even cemeteries.
Male scarlet tanagers arrive at the breeding grounds from May to June, and females join them approximately a week later. After courtship, females build nests several feet above the ground in trees. They construct their shallow open-cup nests using twigs, weeds, grass, and roots.
Scarlet tanager eggs are pale blue-green with reddish-brown spots concentrated at the larger end. The eggs measure around 0.9 inches long and 0.7 inches wide.
Females incubate the eggs for 12-14 days. Both parents participate in feeding the chicks, and the young leave the nests approximately 9-15 days after hatching. Females continue to care for the chicks for another 2 weeks.
Scarlet tanagers are susceptible to brood parasitism by brown-headed cowbirds. If you spot a cowbird egg in another bird’s nest, it is important not to remove it, as brown-headed cowbirds are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and taking their eggs without a permit is illegal.
Read More: Examples of birds that lay red eggs
10. Song Sparrow
Song sparrows are one of the most widespread and familiar North American sparrows. They can be found in various habitats such as thickets, brush, marshes, roadsides, and gardens across the USA and Canada.
While nest placement can vary, most song sparrows nest on the ground under grass and shrubs, typically within a foot of the ground and near water. Both males and females search for nest sites, but it is the females that construct the nests.
They use grasses, weeds, tree bark, and animal hair to create a simple and sturdy cup-shaped nest, which is completed in approximately 4 days. The nests have a diameter of 4-8 inches and a depth of 2.5-4 inches.
Song sparrows lay 1-7 blue, blue-green, or gray-green eggs heavily spotted with reddish-brown. The eggs measure 0.8 inches long and 0.7 inches wide.
Females incubate the eggs for 12-15 days. The chicks hatch underdeveloped, naked, and with their eyes closed. Both parents participate in feeding them, and the young leave the nests after 9-12 days.
They stay with their parents for another 3 weeks. Song sparrows may have 1-7 broods per season. Brown-headed cowbirds have similar eggs to song sparrows and frequently parasitize their nests.
11. American Crow
Often associated with trickery and death, American crows are large and intelligent birds with an IQ similar to that of chimpanzees. These long-tailed black birds are common throughout much of North America and can be seen around woodlands, farms, fields, shores, and towns.
American crows are monogamous and nest in trees or large shrubs. Both partners will help build the nest with offspring from previous seasons helping. Using twigs, pine needles, weeds, soft bark, and animal hair, they will complete a construction that is 6-19 inches in diameter and 4-15 inches deep.
Their egg-laying season starts relatively early, with some birds beginning incubation by early April. American crows lay 3-9 pale blue-green to gray-green eggs that are blotched with brown and gray. The eggs measure around 1.6 inches long and 1.1 inches wide; they might lay twice a year.
Females incubate the eggs for 16-18 days and both parents together will helpers will feed the chicks. They are born naked, clumsy, and with eyes closed; after 20-40 days, the young will fledge. Snakes, raccoons, ravens, and cats will often feed on their eggs.
Read More: Examples of birds laying green eggs
12. American Goldfinch
The American goldfinch is a small bird with a small head, short, notched tail, and long wings with a single broad white wing stripe.
These migratory birds can be seen from mid-Alberta to North Carolina during their breeding season, around fields, meadows, floodplains, parks, orchards, and gardens. They nest late, beginning in mid-summer with most activity happening from July to August.
American goldfinches usually nest in deciduous shrubs and trees (at height of up to 33 ft) with females doing the most work. Using plants, spiderwebs, and plant down their open-cup nest is so solid that it can even hold water. After 6 days of work, the finished nest measures around 3 inches across and 2-4.5 inches high.
American goldfinches have a clutch of 2-7 pale bluish-white eggs that might have some faint brown spots at the larger end. The eggs measure around 0.6 inches long and 0.5 inches wide.
Females will incubate the eggs for 12-14 days while males feed them – young will fledge after 11-17 days from hatching. American goldfinches will have 1-2 broods per year.
Similar to other birds listed here, brown-headed cowbirds will also parasitize their nests, although not so successfully. One study found that only 9% of nests had parasitic eggs in them – this is partly due to the American goldfinches’ late breeding season.
With this guide, birdwatchers can better understand and appreciate the birds that lay blue eggs with brown spots. Observing these unique nesting behaviors and delicate eggs adds to the wonder and joy of birdwatching in North America.
Whether you’re a bird watcher, farmer, or just curious about these stunning eggs, we hope you found this article helpful. If it did, feel free to check out our photo ID guide on the most common white bird eggs with brown speckles found around backyards.