what bird looks like a red winged blackbird

Red-winged Blackbird Photos and Videos

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Taxonomy edit Male seen from behind, showing the absence of the typical yellow bands below the red spots

There are between 20 and 24 recognized subspecies, most of which have fairly similar appearances, depending on the authority. Nonetheless, two solitary populations of bicolored blackbirds exist that are highly recognizable: A p. californicus of California and A. p. gubernator of central Mexico. It is still unknown how these two populations relate to each other and to red-winged blackbirds in terms of taxonomy. [17] In spite of the commonalities among the majority of red-winged blackbird forms, the Mexican Plateau subspecies, A p. gubernator, the female’s veining is severely limited to her throat; the remainder of her plumage is a very dark brown color. Additionally, she belongs to a different family than the European redwing and the common blackbird of the Old World, which are thrushes (Turdidae). [20] In the California subspecies, A. p. californicus and A. p. mailliardorum, the female specimens have less veining covering a smaller surface, dark brown plumage that is not in the gubernator grade, and either no superciliary list or a poorly developed one. [18] Unlike most male members of the other subspecies, the male subspecies mailliardorum, californicus, aciculatus, neutralis, and gubernator do not have the yellow band on their wings. Red-shouldered blackbirds were originally thought to be a subspecies of red-winged blackbirds [18][16]. They were split by the American Ornithologists Union in 1997. [21].

The subspecies and groups of subspecies of red-winged blackbirds that were recognized as of January 2014 are listed below, along with their corresponding distribution areas and wintering locations: [16]

Breeding edit Nest with eggs

The red-winged blackbird nests in loose colonies. The nest is constructed out of cattails, willow or alder bushes, rushes, grasses, and sedges. Over the course of three to six days, the female builds the entire nest. It is a mud-lined basket filled with grasses, sedges, and mosses that is attached to nearby grasses or branches. [27] It is located 7. 6 cm (3. 0 in) to 4. 3 m (14 ft) above water. [64].

A clutch consists of three or four, rarely five, eggs. Eggs are oval, smooth and slightly glossy, and measure 24. 8 mm × 17. 55 mm (0. 976 in × 0. 691 in). [64] The majority of the markings are located around the larger end of the egg, and they are a pale bluish green color with brown, purple, or black accents. These hatch after 11 to 12 days of being incubated by the female alone. Red-winged blackbirds are blind and naked when they hatch, but 11 to 14 days later, they are prepared to leave the nest. [24].

Male red-winged blackbirds defend up to ten females on their territory; they are polygynous birds. Nonetheless, females usually mate with males other than their social partner and give birth to mixed-parent children. Each season, pairs tend to two or three clutches, building a new nest for each clutch. [24].

The red-winged blackbird’s breeding season lasts roughly from the end of April to the end of July. However, it has been estimated that in various states, the active nests’ egg-laying period spanned from late April to early August; in northern Louisiana, nests were found to harbor chicks from late April to late July. In several locations, the first half of May and the first few days of June have been noted as the peak of the nesting season, or the period with the greatest number of active nests. [67] Red-winged blackbirds started nesting earlier in warm spring years, which are linked to low winter values in the North Atlantic Oscillation Index. However, egg-laying dates did not change, according to a study conducted in eastern Ontario. [68] Throughout the breeding season, male testosterone levels are high and reach their peak early on. [49] Females reproduce for up to ten years. [69].

Prior to mating, many aspects of territorialism peak, such as the quantity of male songs and displays and the number of incursions into other countries. Following this, fewer territorial behaviors occur frequently, and the males’ primary focus is protecting the females, eggs, and chicks from predators. The additional male population that exists in swamps prior to copulations appears to vanish following copulation, according to experiments involving the methodical removal of birds from their territories. [70].

Predation of eggs and nestlings is quite common. Predators that prey on nests include mink, raccoons, snakes, and other birds, including marsh wrens. Sometimes brood parasites, especially brown-headed cowbirds, prey on red-winged blackbirds. [63] Because nest predation occurs frequently, this species has evolved a number of adaptations. One such feature that lowers the chance of individual predation by raising the number of vigilant parents is group nesting. Both building a nest over water and sounding an alarm lessen the chance of being eaten. In particular, nests provide a tactical advantage over predators because they are frequently positioned one to two meters above the water and well hidden among dense reeds. [71] Men frequently serve as sentinels, using a range of calls to indicate the type and seriousness of danger. Mobbing is another tactic, particularly for males, to ward off intruding predators, though it frequently unintentionally targets big animals and artificial objects. The female’s brownish coloring could also work against predators by helping her and her nest blend in while she is incubating. [28].


How rare is it to see a red-winged blackbird?

One of the most abundant birds across North America, and one of the most boldly colored, the Red-winged Blackbird is a familiar sight atop cattails, along soggy roadsides, and on telephone wires.

What is the difference between a red-winged blackbird and a Bobolink?

Breeding male Red-winged Blackbirds are entirely black except for the red and yellow shoulder patches unlike male Bobolinks, which are black and white overall.

What is the difference between a house finch and a red-winged blackbird?

The house finches are the smallest while red winged blackbirds and robins are larger. The robins look almost plump in shape when they puff their feathers up in the winter. The red winged blackbirds look long and trim in comparison.

How can you tell if a blackbird is red-winged?

They’re an even glossy black with red-and-yellow shoulder badges. Females are crisply streaked and dark brownish overall, paler on the breast and often show a whitish eyebrow. Male Red-winged Blackbirds do everything they can to get noticed, sitting on high perches and belting out their conk-la-ree! song all day long.