Saturday, May 14, 2011

Bird a Day: Red-winged Blackbird

Here is a bird you might be familiar with, the Red-winged Blackbird.  These birds are numerous in wetland habitats and cling to cattails as they sing.  They are highly polygynous, a male can have as many as 15 females nesting in his territory during the breeding season.  Males defend their territories aggressively against rival males and will even attack larger species like Great Blue Herons or hawks. 

Red-winged Blackbird

Red-winged Blackbird

Red-winged Blackbird

Red-winged Blackbirds have jet black plumage with red and yellow epaulets on their shoulders which they flare at rival males when displaying.  The epaulets may not be seen when birds are not being territorial.  Their bill is straight and conical which they use to eat insects and seeds.  The female Red-winged Blackbird looks completely different from the male.  She is a drab brown with much streaking on the breast and back.  Females have a yellow-orange throat and a white stripe above the eye.  See the video below of a male Red-winged Blackbird calling on his territory.

15 comments:

Frank said...

Loved the video, watching him perch precariously on that small shrub.

Andrew said...

A lovely bird to see.
Many thanks for sharing.

Gary said...

Great shots!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

MaineBirder said...

Excellent photos and video! Love how the call of the Red-winged Blackbird is so prominent in your video.

Springman said...

Fantastic post. I find this bird so hard to capture, like you say it is jet black and just absorbs light. Your video is excellent and gives a great feeling for the song and attitude of this wonderful bird!

eileeninmd said...

Wonderful photos of the Redwing and the video is great.

Stewart M said...

Hi - first came across this bird in (of all places) the open pages of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance - and I've wanted to see some ever since. See these pictures make me know that it really would be a good idea to see some!

Cheers - Stewart M - Australia

Modesto Viegas said...

Good photos!!!

Rezervesana said...

Thanks for the beautiful photos !!!

holdingmoments said...

Lovely looking bird, and great to see the video too.

Fotokarusellen said...

A great post and beautiful images. The firs one is stunning.

mick said...

Those are beautiful birds and great photos.

Kim, USA said...

I have seen these bird at my backyard and I like how they sing and they are kind of huge too. ^_^

Hummingbird

phylliso said...

We have these birds here in Pa yet I was never able to get a photo of them,great pictures & info too!phyllis

Pat said...

Lovely captures of this, one of my favorite birds! I can never get a very good photo of the one that comes to my feeder. He's very wary and takes off at the slightest movement. I do see the female more often and think she's quite pretty.

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