Rusty Blackbird

Rusty Blackbird Photo Credit: Ted Krug

Euphagus carolinus

Status:

  • COSSARO – n.a
  • COSEWIC – Special Concern

Please note: Seventy percent of the Rusty Blackbird’s breeding range is located in Canada. There has been a decline of approximately 10% of the population over the past 40 years

Description:

  • 23 cm in size, this bird is mostly black outside of breeding season. The upper body feathers have rust coloured edges.
  • Yellow eyes and the bill is shorter than head.
  • Long narrow wings.
  • Adult males’ feathers have blue-green sheen while the similarly sized females have more slate coloured sheen.

Habits and Reproduction:

  • Lives to 9 years of age.
  • Short distance migrant, it winters in the US Midwest and the east coast, and returns late April.
  • Feeds on insects and seeds, e.g. grasshoppers, pine seeds, but will eat other birds in times of scarce food.
  • Build bulky nests of twigs in conifers or shrubs within 2 m of the ground, usually in beaver ponds or meadows.
  • Average clutch is 4 eggs.
  • Monogamous, they live in loose colonies during the breeding season.

Habitat:

  • Prefers a mixture of forest and wetland habitat, typical of the boreal forest.

Threats:

  • Loss of habitat particularly in wintering grounds.

Conservation Actions:
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