|Copyright: WEI C CHANG (rightway)
|Date Taken: 2007-07-12|
|Camera: Nikon D70, Nikon AF VR 80-400 ED|
|Exposure: f/5.6, 1/800 seconds|
|More Photo Info: [view]|
|Photo Version: Original Version|
|Date Submitted: 2008-04-21 7:54|
|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note|
|One of the most abundant birds in North America, the Red-winged Blackbird is found in wetlands and agricultural areas across the continent. The black male can hide the brilliant red shoulders or show them off in a dazzling display. The striped female looks strikingly different than the male and could almost be mistaken for a large dark sparrow.|
Moderately long and slender bill.
Tail of medium length.
Male plumage is well described by the name.
Size: 17-23 cm (7-9 in)
Wingspan: 31-40 cm (12-16 in)
Weight: 32-77 g (1.13-2.72 ounces)
Male black with red shoulders, female brown and striped all over.
Song a gurgling "oak-a-lee." Call a dry "chek" and "cheer."
Perhaps the most abundant bird in North America, with an estimated population of 190 million individuals in 1974. Populations increased greatly in the middle of the 20th century.
Carouge à épaulettes (French)
Tordo alirrojo, Tordo capitán, Mayito de la ciénaga, Sargento (Spanish)
Different populations and subspecies of Red-winged Blackbirds vary markedly in size and proportions. An experiment was conducted that moved nestlings between populations and found that the chicks grew up to resemble their foster parents. This study indicated that much of the difference seen between populations is the result of the different environments.
The Red-winged Blackbird is a highly polygynous species, with one male having up to 15 different females making nests in his territory. In some populations 90% of territorial males have more than one female. But, from one quarter to up to half of the young in "his" nests do not belong to the territorial male. Instead they have been sired by neighboring males.
The male Red-winged Blackbird fiercely defends his territory during the breeding season. He may spend more than a quarter of all the daylight hours in territory defense. He vigorously keeps all other males out of the territory and defends the nests from predators. He will attack much larger animals, including horses and people.
The Red-winged Blackbird forms roosting congregations in all months of the year. In the summer it will roost in small numbers at night in the wetlands where it forages and breeds. In winter, it can form huge congregations of several million birds, which congregate in the evening and spread out each morning. Some may travel as far as 80 km (50 mi) between the roosting and feeding sites. It commonly shares its winter roost with other blackbird species and European Starlings.
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