Red-winged Blackbird

Red-winged Blackbird

Agelaius phoeniceus

Least Concern

Known for their striking red and yellow shoulder patches and melodious calls, the Red-winged Blackbird is a captivating presence in North and Central America's marshes, fields, and woodlands. As one of the most abundant birds across North America, this distinctive species darts through the skies, its glossy black plumage and assertive behavior making it an unforgettable part of the continent's diverse birdlife.

Appearance and Identification

Primary Color


Primary Color (female)


Primary Color (juvenile)


Secondary Colors

Red, Yellow

Secondary Colors (female)

Black, White

Secondary Colors (juvenile)

Black, Buff

Secondary Colors (seasonal)

Wing Color


Wing Color (female)


Wing Color (juvenile)


Beak Type


Beak Color


Beak Color (female)


Beak Color (juvenile)

Dark Brown

Leg Color


Leg Color (female)


Leg Color (juvenile)


Distinctive Markings

Bright red and yellow shoulder patches

Distinctive Markings (female)

Streaked with white, buff, and dark brown

Distinctive Markings (juvenile)

Streaked with white and dark brown

Tail Description

Fan-shaped with squared-off end

Tail Description (female)

Fan-shaped with squared-off end

Tail Description (juvenile)

Fan-shaped with squared-off end

Size Metrics

15cm to 25cm


31cm to 40cm


30g to 75g



Click on an image below to see the full-size version

Vocalization and Sounds

Primary Calls

Distinctive call that sounds like 'conk-la-ree!'

Call Description

A variety of calls, including a gurgling song and a harsh alarm call

Alarm Calls

Sharp, harsh call

Behavior and Social Structure

Daily Activities

Active during the day, feeding in the morning and evening

Social Habits

Flocks in winter, territorial in breeding season

Territorial Behavior

Males aggressively defend territories during breeding season

Migratory Patterns

Migrates south in winter

Interaction with Other Species

Often forms mixed flocks with other blackbird species in winter


Primary Diet

Insects, Seeds

Feeding Habits

Forages on the ground and in vegetation

Feeding Times

Morning and late afternoon

Prey Capture Method

Picks insects from vegetation and the ground

Diet Variations

Diet varies with season and location

Special Dietary Needs (if any)

None known


Nesting Location

In marsh vegetation or in trees or shrubs near water

Nest Construction

Bowl-shaped nest made of grass and lined with mud

Breeding Season

Spring to early summer

Number of clutches (per breeding season)

One to two

Egg Appearance

Pale blue-green with dark marks

Egg Size

Approximately 2.4cm x 1.8cm

Clutch Characteristics

2-4 eggs

Incubation Period

11-13 days

Fledgling Period

11-14 days

Parental Care

Both parents feed chicks, but only female incubates eggs

Distribution and Habitat

Geographic Range

North and Central America

Habitat Description

Marshes, swamps, fields, pastures, and open woodland

Elevation Range

Sea level to 2300m

Migration Patterns

Migrates south in winter


Temperate Forest, Grassland

Climate zones

Temperate, Tropical

Distribution Map

Please note, this range and distribution map is a high-level overview, and doesn't break down into specific regions and areas of the countries.

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