Melissa Mayntz is a bird expert, certified master Naturalist, writer, and also author through over three decades of experience. She's released in several national magazines, consisting of National Wildlife Magazine, Bird Watcher's Digest, and WildBird Magazine. Melissa has studied hundreds of bird varieties around the world, travel to Mexico, main America, the Caribbean, the main Pacific, the center East, and an ext on birding expeditions.

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Spring is a season of beloved colors, from the quite pinks the tulips and also tree flower to the sunny yellows that daffodils and baby chicks to the soft, beautiful blue of robin"s eggs. But why room robin eggs blue, and what have the right to colors reveal about different wild bird eggs?

Eggshells deserve to be a rainbow of hues, from straightforward white, cream, buff, and tan shades come lavender, mint green, yellow, teal, gray, red-orange, pink, and blue-green. Eggs might be plain, or castle may have actually markings in different colors, such as red-brown, deep purple, black, gray, or green. Spots, flecks, specks, splotches, blotches, and also squiggles have the right to all be significant on egg and add to their shade variations.

Colors as Camouflage

In plenty of cases, shade helps camouflage an eggshell native hungry predators that are happy to raid nests for basic meal. This is particularly true because that eggs with neutral tones or those that have markings that assist them blend right into nesting material. Many birds the lay egg in the open, such as in a scrape colony or straight on the soil in open areas, have actually such camouflaged eggs. The birds v those camouflaged egg will frequently decorate their nests as well, to provide secondary layer the protection and also concealment.

color Protecting egg From the sun

The color of a bird's egg can also protect it from harmful sunlight. The radiation and also heat indigenous the sun have the right to easily damage delicate eggs, both by affecting chick advance and impacting the incubation period. A an extremely dark egg, because that example, will certainly have better protection against harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation, but it can also heat up too quickly in straight sunlight and the extreme temperature might kill an unhatched chick. A lighter egg is much less subject come the anxiety of overheating, but much more at risk for developmental troubles caused by UV radiation. When an incubation duration is strongly impacted by heat from the sun, chicks space subject to greater mutations and higher fatalities since their advance is rushed.

Because of the connection between sunlight and also eggshell color, shell colors vary based on the geographic range of a bird species and wherein they lay your eggs. Bird that generally lay eggs in open, exposed areas likely come see more sunlight frequently have lighter-colored eggshells. Eggs laid in surprise locations sheltered indigenous the sun are much more likely to it is in darker hues.

Ultimately, birds need to strike a balance between the ideal color for their eggs and also the environmental conditions where they lay those eggs. This is one evolutionary process that have the right to take countless generations to perfect, and also even bird in the same species may have actually slightly various eggshell colors based upon their selection and habitat preferences.

much more Clues in Eggshell color

In addition to giving a clue around a bird's nesting behavior with regards come the sunlight that get a nest, the color of eggshells have the right to indicate:

Health of Parent and Chicks: Brighter, an ext colorful eggs (within the suitable colors because that the species) are frequently a sign of an excellent health and a nutritious diet because that the mom bird. Those hatchlings are much more likely come be strong and healthy as well.Mismatched Siblings: Dramatically different eggs in the same swarm can show a brood parasite. This birds, such together brown-headed cowbirds and common cuckoos, lay your eggs in the colonies of other birds, and let other species raise them together "foster" chicks. One egg that is a vastly various size, shape, or shade in the brood might be indigenous a brood parasite.

But, Really, Why are Robin egg Blue?

While understanding eggshell color is fascinating, that doesn"t totally explain why robin eggs are blue. The shade of an eggshell is identified by colors deposited as the shell is created in the shell gland. The shell gland is the avian indistinguishable of a mammal"s uterus and also is close to the end of the oviduct, just before the cloaca. The covering is formed just prior to the egg is laid.

The bile pigment biliverdin is responsible for blue tones in bird eggs. Depending upon the concentration the the pigment, the coloration can variety from bright, bold blue or blue-green come pale ice blue and every shade in between. Smaller eggs and those laid an initial in a brood are usually much more intensely fancy than larger eggs or those laid later in the nesting cycle.

In enhancement to coloring eggshells, biliverdin is likewise responsible for blue tones in moth and also butterfly wings, and is the very same pigment that provides bruises rotate bluish-green.

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other Birds that Lay Blue egg

Robin eggs aren't the only blue wild bird eggs. Many other species also lay egg in assorted shades that blue, teal, turquoise, and blue-green, including:

Regardless that the species, however, the same values that define why robin eggs space blue describe the bluish coloration the all different wild bird eggs. Birders who understand egg coloration can an ext easily identify wild bird eggs and also appreciate every the special features of each swarm they see.