Rusty Blackbird - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image Rusty Blackbird - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image Rusty Blackbird - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image Rusty Blackbird - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image  
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Rusty Blackbird
Euphagus carolinus

Blackbirds
Blackbird Family (Icteridae)

Size: Length: 24 cm Wingspan: 33-38 cm

Description: Uncommon in the Rockies, the rusty blackbird is quite similar to the Brewer's blackbird. Both male and female are jet black with a bright yellow eye. The male is slightly darker, with an iridescent sheen to the upper feathers, often adding a tinge of blue or green when the light is right. The similarity of male and female is uncommon in the blackbirds. In the fall, they lose their jet black colour and earn their common name. The male remains black, but many of the feathers take on a rusty tone along the edge. The feathers on the side of the head and breast become edged with buff. The females become lighter in the fall, with more buff edging to the feathers of the breast and face, and a dark eye streak. They wander around the borders of wetlands, often wading in the shallows, to collect insects and small invertebrates. Their nest is a hard mass made of wet marsh plants (which dry and harden), and usually placed in a low conifer where it overhangs the water. Their call is a squeaky series of notes: "tik-tiksheik".

In its breeding plumage, it is very difficult to distinguish from the Brewer's blackbird. Its feathers are less glossy, making the bird appear more evenly black overall. Outside of the nesting season, its rusty colouration makes it distinctive.

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All Material Ward Cameron 2005

 

 

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