"Red-winged Blackbird"
(Agelaium phoeniceus)

Photograph by
Snow W. Frost
Photograph by
Snow W. Frost
(wing showing only yellow border of red wing patch)

The red patches of the Red-winged Blackbird, show the bird's alarm upon discovering an intruder on its territory. They are also displayed as a part of the courtship ritual in spring. Males hold territories of 1/8 to 1/4 acre, which they defend by singing from perches with wings spread open and red shoulder patches exposed. They can also conceal the red patch, showing only the yellow border. They are one of the most widespread and numberous birds in Florida. Males are polygynous, averaging 3 mates per breeding season.

Size: 8 1/2"

Male: Jet black bird with red and yellow shoulder patches on upper wings. Pointed black bill.

Female: Heavily streaked brown bird with a pointed brown bill and white eyebrows.

Nest: Cup; female builds; 2-3 broods per year.

Eggs: 3-4; bluish green with brown markings.

Incubation: 10-12 days; female incubates.

Fledging: 11-14 days; female and male feed young.

Migration: Complete, to southern states, Mexico and Central America, winters in Florida.

Food: Seeds, insects, will come to seed feeders.

Voice: Song a loud "okalee"; calls include "check," "tseert," and, given only by female, a "ch'ch'ch'chee chee chee."

Habitat: Marshes and meadows.

My personal notes...

These birds are so pretty in flight...with those red patches on their wings. They have a very high pitch for a call. More timid that many other birds such as bluejays. I enjoy hearing the ones here saying..."check" in a high pitched voice.

"Bird Wonderland"


Copyright 1999-2003 Snow W. Frost
All rights reserved.
Reproduction without permission is strictly forbidden.