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Rusty Blackbird Euphagus carolinus


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Rusty Blackbird
credit: Mdf/CCSA

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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Family: Icteridae, Blackbirds and Orioles view all from this family

Description ADULT BREEDING MALE Has blackish plumage overall with a green sheen in good light. ADULT NONBREEDING MALE Has rusty brown feather edges over much of body, which slowly wear away such that plumage is usually pristine black by late winter. ADULT BREEDING FEMALE Dark gray-brown overall, darkest on wings and tail. ADULT NONBREEDING FEMALE Has rusty brown edges to many feathers; color is particularly striking on head (where supercilium contrasts with darker eyestripe), back, and tertials. IMMATURES Similar to respective-sex winter adults.

Dimensions Length: 9" (23 cm)

Habitat A wet woodland species. Favors northern and taiga forests for breeding (present there mainly May-Sep). Winters in southeastern U.S. Formerly common, but now threatened: numbers have declined catastrophically in recent decades.

Observation Tips Breeding grounds are hard to access, so easiest to see in winter.

Range Plains, Great Lakes, Northwest, Western Canada, California, Florida, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, Eastern Canada, New England, Alaska, Rocky Mountains, Texas, Southwest

Voice Song is a series of gurgling chatters (recalling a distant flock of European Starlings) followed by a breezy whistle; call is a soft tchuk.

Discussion Pale-eyed blackbird with a slender bill. Named after rusty feather margins seen in fall and early winter. Sexes are dissimilar.