Blackbird, a robin-size bird of temperate regions. It has a thick, pointed bill for cracking seeds and nuts, its main sources of food. The male has shiny black feathers. North American species include the red-winged blackbird, yellow-headed blackbird, and Brewer's blackbird.
The red-winged blackbird is found east of the Rocky Mountains. It is seven to nine and one-half inches (18 to 24 cm) long. The male is black with bright red shoulder patches called epaulets. The female is dusky brown with white stripes. The red-winged blackbird lives in marshes and swamps. Both sexes build the nest, a cup-shaped structure made of grass and anchored to a tall reed. The female lays three to five pale-blue eggs with brownish-purple markings. The red-winged blackbird's song sounds like o-ka-leee or konk-la-ree.
The yellow-headed blackbird is found in the midwestern and western United States. The male has a bright yellow head and breast; the female is brown with a yellow neck. The yellow-headed blackbird is 8 to 11 inches (20 to 28 cm) long. Its song sounds like o-ka-leee krick, krack.
Brewer's blackbird is found from British Columbia east to the Great Lakes. The male is black with a purplish-blue iridescent head. The female is a drab grayish-brown. Brewer's blackbird is 8 to 10 inches (20 to 25 cm) long. Its song, quee-ee or ksh-ee, sounds like a creaking door.
Other North American blackbirds include the cowbird and grackle.
European blackbirds are thrushes that resemble American robins, except that their plumage is shiny black.Blackbirds have thick, pointed bills for cracking seeds and nuts.
Most blackbirds do have some black on them. But few blackbirds are black all over. The male red-winged blackbird, for example, has red patches on his wings. The female red-winged blackbird is mostly brown with black and gray streaks.
The male red-winged blackbird spreads his wing patches over his territory. This is important, since females choose to mate with the male having the best territory. While showing off, the male sings “Konk-ka-ree!” or “O-ka-lay!”
The female blackbird also has a special call. If an enemy gets close to her nest, she cries “Chip, chip, chip, chip!” Up above, the male calls out “Check, check!” or “Tseert, tseert!” to scare away the enemy.
Blackbirds belong to the family Icteridae. The red-winged blackbird is Agelaius phoeniceus; the yellow-headed, Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus; Brewer's, Euphagus cyanocephalus.