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Red-winged Blackbird

Red-winged Blackbird
Photo Information
Copyright: Mario Belanger (EOSF1) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1393 W: 119 N: 5267] (23955)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2008-05-24
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon EOS 40D, Canon EF 100-400 F4-5.6 L IS USM, ISO 100, B+W 77 010 UV-Haze 1 x
Exposure: f/8, 1/200 seconds
Details: Tripod: Yes (Fill) Flash: Yes
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): CeltickRanger's favorite Bird photos [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2008-05-25 10:47
Viewed: 3311
Points: 48
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note [French]
Here's a shot of a female Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus, 22 cm) they're very different from the male! I shot this one at parc de l'Ile Lebel in Repentigny.

From Cornell:

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.
Medium-sized songbird.
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)
Sex Differences
Male black with red shoulders, female brown and striped all over.
Song a gurgling "oak-a-lee." Call a dry "chek" and "cheer."
Conservation Status
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.
Other Names
Carouge à épaulettes (French)
Tordo alirrojo, Tordo capitán, Mayito de la ciénaga, Sargento (Spanish)
Cool Facts
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.

jconceicao, crs, boreocypriensis, mariki, nglen, Argus, meyerd, eqshannon, fartash, vanderschelden, pekkavalo1, CeltickRanger, jaycee, albert, MMM, pierrefonds has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To meyerd: Thanks Dietrich!EOSF1 1 05-30 14:04
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Critiques [Translate]

Fantastic capture.Lighting, definition and colours are good.Excellent composition and detail.

  • Great 
  • crs Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 469 W: 0 N: 922] (3551)
  • [2008-05-25 11:30]

Hi Mario,

Well done photo! Extreme sharpness on the bird render even the smallest detail of plumage. I seems to me that the sharpness of the main subject, the bird, is sustained by the clean way you rndered the mirror like ice surface.


Hi Mario,
Splendid shot of this beautiful female Red-winged Blackbird with superb DOF and details. Great composition. TFS.


Despite the light, you've done a great job of getting the right exposure and perfect sharpness, Mario.
Very well done, indeed!

  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2008-05-25 12:35]

Hi Marcus. A fine shot of this Blackbird. This is one i have never seen so thanks for posting this one with good detail and natural colours. a good POV/DOF. well done TFS. good notes too,

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2008-05-25 13:10]

Hello Mario,
A very nice capture of a female Red-winged Blackbird taken in a natural habitat. The sharpness of the bird helps to make it stand out against the busy BG in an excellent composition.
TFS this fine image,
Regards, Ivan

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2008-05-25 13:11]

Salut Mario,vraiment fantastique,un focus parfait sur l'oiseux et une ambience vraiment exceptionel,mes plus gros compliments,Luciano

  • Great 
  • rdfoto Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 372 W: 0 N: 719] (3295)
  • [2008-05-25 13:28]

Bonjour Mario
Très belle prise, excellente netteté et lumière,
très belle attitude du sujet.
Amicalement Robi

Hi Mario,

another of your beautiful and very careful, professional portraits of a Canadian bird. The challenge here for you was to make the discreetly colored female Red-winged blackbird look interesting. And it does indeed. The composition is part of your secret. Thanks also for the detailed note. You explain about the polygyny of the species. I am working with the Reed bunting inhabiting reed beds in Switzerland and ask the question why polygamy is advantageous.

My best regards

The water backdrop is locely...so soft and coloured just right, bringing out the glow of the bird well...a complex image with many facets,...yet keeping focus spot on!

Dear Mario
Excellent shot of this Red-winged Blackbird,
Perfect focusing,colors and DOF.Welldone my friend.


Hello Mario,
Excellent work, Mario.
For a change a very busy BG and it doesn't matter at all.
On the contrary this works...
Very sharp bird.
Well done

Hi Mario,

Very beautiful picture of this Red-winged Blackbird. Nice pose and composition, very beautiful BG, sharp details and nice colours.



I have not seen a Female b4 and thanks to you will be on the look out as have the males around... I think they are tricky to capture.. Well seen and taken..
Best regards

salut Mario

une très très belle photo du femelel du Carouge à Épaulettes,
c'est un oiseau que j'aimes beaucoup (la femelle du carouge),
excellent POV, DOF et cadrage, superbes netteté et détails
de l'oiseau et l'avant-plan, TFS



Indeed they are different than the males! Again you present a wonderful, nicely composed image. The detail, colors and lighting is on par with your high standard. Excellent work.

Best Regards,


  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2008-05-25 19:44]

Hi Mario,

I don't think I have ever seen a female blackbird before. Although so different from the male she is quite lovely. A beautiful shot with fine details, wonderful colors, and a lovely setting.


Bonsoir Mario,

Une très belle photo de carouge. Excellente netteté. J'aime beaucoup la composition: superbe environnement avec la présence de l'eau et des morceaux de bois. Excellente lumière et très bonnes couleurs.
Bonne soirée,

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2008-05-26 1:43]

Hello Mario,
Beautiful photo of this Red-winged Blackbird in her natural environment. Great sharp focus with excellent sharp details. Nice natural colours. Very good composition.

Bonjour Mario,
Belle capture et composition,
L'effet de la surface de l'eau est special!
Bien cordialement

  • Great 
  • joey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1739 W: 224 N: 6872] (24909)
  • [2008-05-26 13:56]

Wow! The female looks completely different from the male!
Excellent capture!
Very sharp and crisp with great detail.
Lovely lighting.
Superb composition.

Well done!


  • Great 
  • MMM Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1114 W: 0 N: 2546] (11425)
  • [2008-05-26 19:40]

Salut Mario
Belle presentation.Bon PDV et image parfaitement en focus avec de jolie detail.J'aime bien la pause du sujet ainsi que la lumiere dans l'oeil.
Merci Michel

Hello Mario,
Good shot, very good sharpness and nice clarity, lovely natural colors, great pose and good catchlight.

Bonjour Mario,

La carouge à épaulettes femelle est impressionnante dans cet environnement. Les détails ét les couleurs du plumage de l'oiseau sont clairs et nets. La ligne diagonale de la buche de bois est un atout à la composition. L'utilisation du trépied et du flash ont donné de bons résultats. Bonne journée.


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