We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Red-Winged Blackbird?

By Sheri Cyprus
Updated Jun 04, 2024
Our promise to you
All Things Nature is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At All Things Nature, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A red-winged blackbird is the small Agelaius phoeniceus native to North America. It's a song bird with a loud, broken sort of cry. It's a passerine bird, as its order is Passeriformes, which is made up of songbirds and perching birds. Finches, jays and warblers are examples of other Passeriformes. Icteridae is the scientific name for blackbirds.

The male red-winged blackbird is all velvety black except for its shoulders, while the female of the species is an allover mottled brown. These shoulders, or epaulettes, have an orange-red triangular patch on the upper part with a cream section beneath it. This bird is often mistaken for the tri-colored blackbird that is approximately the same size. The difference between the two blackbirds is quite subtle, as the red-winged's epaulettes are typically an orange-red compared to the bluer red of the tri-colored blackbird. The white markings on the tri-colored blackbird's epaulettes are often less yellowish as well.

Although the Agelaius phoeniceus blackbird is North American, it's also found in Central America. During the summer months, the red-winged blackbird population is mainly in Canada. In winters, red-winged blackbirds prefer the climates of Mexico and Central America. The rest of the year, Agelaius phoeniceus is mostly in the United States. Marshes and fields are the preferred habitats of red-winged blackbirds, but they also live in grassy, upland areas as well.

Other than the distinctively colored shoulder markings that differentiate the red-winged blackbird from other species, it also has a loud cry and can be aggressively protective of its territory. Red-winged blackbirds will even try to attack large animals as well as humans in order to protect their nests. They have a unique running and hopping gait when looking for food at ground level. Red-winged blackbirds feed on grains, seeds and berries as well as a variety of insects.

Agelaius pheniceus birds average about 8 inches (20 cm) in length, with the female being slightly smaller in size. Red-winged blackbirds are typically part of large flocks which may include other types of blackbirds. These flocks may include several million birds for both roosting and migrating. They are known to share their roots with other species of bird.

The female red-winged blackbird builds the nest from grass in bushes or cattails. She lays up to about five eggs that are light blue with purple and brown markings. Within 15 days, the young red-winged blackbirds are ready to leave the nest temporarily. They don't leave the nest permanently for about another three weeks.

All Things Nature is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
All Things Nature, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

All Things Nature, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.