Red-Winged Blackbird

Red-Winged Blackbird (Male)

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Red-Winged Blackbird (Female)

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Red-Winged Blackbird Female On Nest

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Red-Winged Blackbird Nest With Eggs

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Red-Winged Blackbird

Red-winged blackbird photo
Agelaius phoeniceus
Icteridae (New World blackbirds, orioles, meadowlarks) in the order Passeriformes

Male is all black, with a bright red shoulder patch bordered with yellow. Sometimes the shoulder patch is concealed. Upperparts of female are dark brown with light streaks on back and head, and a light eyebrow. Underparts are whitish with heavy brown streaks; sometimes there is orange or pinkish on the throat and shoulders. Young males resemble females but have an orange-red shoulder patch. Song is a loud “konk-o-REEE,” with an accent on the last syllable. Call is a sharp “steek” or “chack.”

Length: 8¾ inches (tip of bill to tip of tail).
Habitat and conservation: 
Marshes, moist grasslands, wet roadside ditches, and borrow pits along highways. Often present in large flocks in crop fields in late summer and fall. During migration and in winter, roosts at night in cattails and other tall emergent marsh vegetation, or with other blackbirds in tree roosts that may include millions of individuals. Some believe this might be the most abundant bird in North America.
Forages for seeds and insects in marshes, wetlands, and other moist places.
Distribution in Missouri: 
Common permanent resident, widespread and abundant.
Life cycle: 
Breeds in brush, aquatic vegetated areas by rivers, ponds, and swamps. They nest both over water or in grasslands, but where they occur with yellow-headed blackbirds, the red-winged blackbirds are forced to nest in shallow water areas or terrestrial locations. Nests are of woven sedge and grass lined with fine grass and rushes, in vegetation. A clutch is usually 3–4 eggs, which hatch after 10–12 days. Fledging occurs 11–14 days later. Commonly 2 or 3 broods in our state, beginning in mid-April.
Human connections: 
This easily recognized, abundant and conspicuous bird is appreciated even by casual birders. It is fascinating to watch males display their colorful shoulders and defend their marsh nesting territories.
Ecosystem connections: 
Marshes and other wetlands are notorious for the “bugs” they harbor, but red-winged blackbirds help keep the populations of insects in check. As seed-eaters, this species also aids in the dispersal of various plants.
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