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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.
COSEWIC Status: Special Concern
COSSARO Status: Not at risk
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- 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.
- Prefers a mixture of forest and wetland habitat, typical of the boreal forest.
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.
- Loss of habitat particularly in wintering grounds.
- Report your sightings and participate in citizen science programs.