BIRD OF THE WEEK / WEEK 21: May 21, 2018
© Liron Gertsman
17-24 cm length | 31-40 cm wingspan | 29-82 gm weight
A medium-sized icterid with a sharp, pointed bill and a rounded tail of medium length.
The male is glossy black allover with bright red epaulets (shoulder patches) that are apparent when displayed or in flight. They may also have a yellow wingbar that can be seen at rest. The female is brown, darker on top and lighter below. Juveniles look similar to the adult female.
Habitat / Behaviour
Omnivore | Wetland | Lives up to 15 years
The Red-winged Blackbird inhabits both freshwater and saltwater wetlands and marshes preferring areas with cattail and other tall grasses and reeds. They are also found in open grasslands, meadows, prairies and fields.
The Red-winged Blackbird is omnivorous, with a diet that consists of 75% plant materials and with insects and other arthropods making up the rest. Typical foods include weed seeds, corn, rice, berries, dragonflies, damselflies, butterflies, moths, flies, snails, frogs, eggs, carrion, worms, spiders and mollusks. They can be seen gleaning insects from foliage or catching them in the air, feeding from birdfeeders or grazing in open fields in large, mixed-species feeding flocks.
Polygynous | Nests in reeds | 3-4 greenish-blue eggs | 2-3 broods
Red-winged Blackbirds are common prey for raptors, even amongst those that otherwise don’t feed on birds, such as the Barn Owl and the Saw-whet Owl. They are also preyed on by corvids, herons, raccoons, mink, foxes and snakes.
- Red-winged Blackbird Song and Territorial Display
- Red-winged Blackbird Female Calling
- Thought I Heard a Red-winged Blackbird, David Francey
- Participate in a Festival Event this Week
- Get the Vancouver bird checklist on the web or on your iPhone.
- 10 Simple Birding Tips
- Check out the International Ornithological Congress
- What else is going on for the Vancouver International Bird Festival?