Red-winged Blackbird

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Red-winged Blackbird


Ranges throughout the United States.


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


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.


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.


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
Class: birds
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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