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Red-winged Blackbird

Range:

Ranges throughout the United States.

Habitat:

Wetland areas, such as freshwater and saltwater marshes, and dry upland areas, such as meadow, prairies, and old fields.

Characteristics:

The male is completely black except for a red shoulder patch with a narrow, yellow horizontal bar at the base of the patch. The female is brown above and has vertical brown and buff streaks below.

Behavior:

The red-winged blackbird is an active feeder, gleaning insects and seeds from both the ground and plants, and hawking insects in the air. Gaping, sticking the bill into the ground, a tight space, or a food item, then opening the bill, is a food acquisition tactic characteristic of all blackbirds, and the Red-winged Blackbird is no exception. Food can be obtained from a wide variety of otherwise inaccessible places by gaping. Strong flier, can travel great distances between roosting and foraging areas each day.

Reproduction:

Breeding season lasts from February through August. Red-winged blackbirds commonly nest in marsh or prairie habitat. The female builds a cup-shaped nest about 1-2 m (3-6 ft) above ground or water. She weaves the nesting material, usually grasses or reeds, into several upright cattails, reeds, or grasses for support. The female lays 3 - 4 greenish-blue eggs with brown spots, which she incubates for 11 days. Both parents feed the nestlings for 14 days. Then the young fledge from the nest. Red-winged Blackbirds are often polygamous.

Red-winged Blackbird
Range
Class: aves
Genus: Agelaius
Species: phoeniceus
Length: about 8.5 inches
Average Lifespan: 10
Wild Diet: Insects, fruits, berries, seeds
USFWS Status: Not Listed
CITES Status: Not Listed
Where at the Zoo? Discoveryland: Desert Canyon


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