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Red-winged Blackbird

Red-winged Blackbird. Photo by Mark Bright/RPS 2019
Mark Bright/RPS 2019



Males are all black with red shoulder patches edges in yellow (this yellow is sometimes hidden) with a black bill and legs. Females are chestnut and buff mottled-brown with heavily streaked, pale breast belly and sides and a light jawline and eyebrow. Red-winged blackbirds are sometimes confused with several species, with the following differences. The common grackle has a long, rudder-like tail. The Brewer’s blackbird and rusty blackbird males have yellow eyes. Female Brewer’s blackbird and rusty blackbird are more uniformly brown, with no streaks.


Approximately 6.7 to 9.1 inches in length. Wingspan of 12.2 to 15.7 inches.


Red-winged blackbirds are found in cattail marshes, we meadows and ditches, croplands and shoreline shrubs. In winter, this is a common visitor to urban and residential neighborhoods. This bird can be found statewide.

Life Cycle

At feeders, this bird eats millet, milo, black-oil and striped sunflower seeds. Away from feeders, they forage on the ground for seeds, waste grain and insects. They often search through vegetation for seeds and insects.

How To Observe

These birds feed in flocks with other blackbirds. They prefer to feed on or just above the ground.   

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