Mating is one such naturally occurring phenomenon which is essential in every kind of living organism to produce offspring and contribute to bringing newer generations to the Earth. Undoubtedly, the offspring carry forwards genetic information from their parents. Thus, in the case of birds, the babies carry the kind of beak, body size, color of feathers, and many more, which again differentiate their breeds.
Bluebirds with the average size of not more than a fist and a pointed bill. There are three types of species of bluebirds – the eastern aquamarine bird, i.e., Sialia Sialis, the aquamarine bird, i.e., Sialia Currucoides and the western aquamarine bird. These birds are mainly insectivorous or omnivorous and feed on fruits, seeds, nuts and insects. They are found in farms, gardens and backyards. However, a unique property these birds have are that bluebirds also lay blue eggs. They lay five to seven eggs per nest, and the female birds incubate them for approximately two weeks, whereas the male ones bring them food.
Red birds are generally a bird of red color, usually northern cardinals. However, male and female cardinals slightly differ in color. While males are bright red-colored, on the other hand, females mainly have red-hued wings, crest and tail. They are generally large in size and have strong beaks, long tails and prominent ridges. They are mostly found in parks, fields, forest edges, woodlands, and backyards and can easily feed on tough-shelled seeds, wild fruits, grains and insects. They lay around three to four eggs, and female parent birds incubate them. The offspring tend to possess brown color and later develop the red color with maturity.
The two far too apart breeds of birds – the bluebirds and the red birds (cardinals) belong to completely different families (part of the classification of birds based on Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species). While bluebirds are from the corvids family, and the cardinals belong to the Cardinalidae family. In nature, the cross-breeding of two different breeds belonging to a non-similar family ends up forming unhappy genetic offspring. For instance, isn’t it absurd to think of cross-breeding between a human and a tiger?
Coming to the colors of feathers, if we think of cross-breeding in two different colored flowers, why can’t bluebirds and red birds? In answer to this, in the case of a red-colored flower, mating with a white-colored flower produces pink-colored offspring. This is possible since the flower pigments are an essential genetic trait, far less complex than the color found in the feathers of a bird. This is comparable to the hair color in humans. How? We hardly see a black hair mother and a blonde hair father have a unique color which is between black and blonde. In case, the offspring possess the dominant trait and thus only that color hair. Similarly, in the case of feathers, it follows a complex genetic trait.
Another reason is that cardinals and bluebirds are not naturally attracted to each other. Mainly bluebirds have a behavioral trait of mating with one partner and living the entire life with each other. However, even if, after repeatedly trying, the mating pairs cannot produce offspring or lay eggs or if the females mate with more than one male bird, they tend to part ways. And in this situation, if cross-breeding occurs between a bluebird and a cardinal, then it will not produce genetically strong babies, resulting in parting ways even if they get bonded.
One more point adding to the sexual orientation of the bluebirds is that they generally monogamous and typically mate for life. Not only that, the male and female birds build the nest together for 8-9 days before the reproduction period. Adding to this, the bluebirds nest majorly inside a small cavity build with straws, small branches, etc. or inside a nest box or tree hole. On the other hand, cardinals build their nests in open areas at the height of 3-10 feet above the ground, in shrubs or trees. Thus, we can understand that the bluebirds and the cardinals are far from nesting together.
During the nesting period, sometimes the male bluebirds sing softly for the female ones and also at times feed them (but this latter one happens before the breeding season). So is that situation ever possible that a small-sized bluebird is feeding a larger-sized cardinal or the opposite?
Moreover, the bluebirds are scared of the red birds since the latter ones are territorial and will do anything to protect their place. Thus, mating these two birds are next to impossible.
Cross-breeding or hybridization of two species of birds is possible if they belong to the same family, genus, and class of the animal kingdom. The most common example of hybridization is found in Catalina Macaw, which is a cross-breeding between a blue and gold colored Macaw along with a Scarlet Macaw. This is because these two birds belong to the same genus.
Another example is the Australian Lorikeets, Musk Lorikeets, Purple Crowned Lorikeets, Scaly-breasted Lorikeets, and Rainbow Lorikeets, which can produce hybrid offspring by cross-breeding among themselves.
The lovebird is also an example of a cross-breed of an Old World African Parrot and a New World South American Parrot. As such, there are other species of birds belonging to the same genus that carries almost 80-90 per cent similar genetic information, can mate and form genetically healthy offspring.
Birds are one such species which are important for maintaining the balance of the ecosystem. However, they are also a beautiful sight to behold. Additionally, if we ever find a similar-looking bird couple, cuddling with each other, describing the glimpse is beyond words. Thus, the same attractive energy occurs between the birds which lures them for routine mating, which gives birth to a newer generation of species. And depending on the genetic complexity, we shouldn’t cross-breed two such birds which are completely aloof in their features, which gives rise to unhappy offspring.