Red-winged Blackbird

Red-winged Blackbird

Red-winged Blackbird
(Agelaius phoeniceus)

Order:  Passeriformes
Family:  Icteridae

Red-winged Blackbid - Breeding Male
Photo © Don DesJardin

Red-winged Blackbird Information

Length:  7 - 9.5"

Habitat:  Marshes; shrubby swamps; wet roadside ditches; overgrown weedy fields and hayfields.

During nonbreeding period: weed seeds and waste grains.

During breeding season: mostly insects, spiders, millipedes, and snails.

Also, some small fruits and berries when available.

  Songs & calls of Red-winged Blackbird

Additional Information

Red-winged Blackbird
Description, distribution, behavior, diet, reproduction, and migration. Includes photos and range map. (From Wikipedia)

Female Red-winged Blackbird

Female Red-winged Blackbird

© Don DesJardin

Red-winged Blackbird
Identification Tips

  • Sharply-pointed bill
  • Frequents marshy habitats in summer, open habitats at other times of year
  • Often flocks with other species of blackbirds
Adult Male
  • Bright red patch on wings bordered by yellow (border missing in some races)
  • Black plumage
  • Immature male similar to adult male but has pale supercilium and brown edges to black feathers
Adult Female
  • Heavily streaked underparts
  • Upperparts brown and white
  • Sometimes has yellow tinge to face and throat
  • Females very dark in some races
  • Juveniles similar to adult females

(Credit: U. S. Geological Survey)

Breeding Bird Survey Map,

Red-winged Blackbird Breeding Map

(Image credit: USGS)

Range in New England

The Red-winged Blackbird breeds throughout New England.

This bird is found during the winter in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island, as well as far southern Vermont, far southern New Hampshire, and along the coast of Maine.

Red-winged Blackbirds are also seen during migration throughout most of New England, moving southward from Canada as well as northern New England.

Year-round Map from eBird

Year-round sightings of the Red-winged Blackbird (1900-present)

Christmas Bird Count Map
Historical CBC Map from USGS