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Quotes shown do not reflect the management’s opinions. Use these birds’ quotations as you see fit or just read or remember them. Credit for quotations is given where known.
Large view + Credit: Rusty Blackbird — Algonquin Provincial Park, Canada. Photo by Mdf / CC BY-SA 3.0
The Rusty Blackbird, Euphagus carolinus, is a medium-sized blackbird. “Rusty” refers to the brownish winter plumage. They have black plumage; the female is greyer.
Rusty Blackbird ID Tips:
• Length: 8 inches
• Sharply-pointed bill
• Pale eye
• Often found in wet wooded areas
• Entirely black plumage in Spring and Summer
• Variable amount of brown feather edges in Fall and Winter often with pale supercilium and malar streak
• Breeding plumage similar to male but grayer
• Winter plumage similar to male’s
Male Rusty Blackbird similar to male Brewer’s Blackbird but lacks purple iridescence. Female Brewer’s Blackbird has a dark eye. Grackles are larger with much longer tails. Cowbirds are smaller with more conical bills.
The song resembles the grating of a rusty hinge. Their breeding habitat is wet temperate coniferous forests and muskeg across Canada and Alaska. Their nest is like a cup and is located in a tree or dense shrub, usually over water.
These birds migrate to the eastern and southeastern United States, into parts of the Grain Belt, sometimes straying into Mexico. These blackbirds forage on wet ground or in shallow water, mainly eating insects and some seeds. They will attack small passerine birds, and have been known to kill species as large as Common Snipe.
Rusty Blackbirds have declined significantly in recent decades. The reasons are unclear, but habitat loss is likely a major contributor to the decline. br>
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