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Scarlet-headed Blackbird - BirdForum Opus

Photo by Jamfaraco
Itapirubá, Imbituba-SC Brazil, January 2007
Amblyramphus holosericeus


Male 25 cm (9¾ in); Female 22·5 cm (8¾ in)

  • Sharp pointed, chisel-shaped bill, often looking slightly upturned
  • Red head to upper breast
  • Rest of plumage black

Sexes similar
Juveniles are black overall, with orangy-red throat and upper breast

This bird is sometimes considered the South American counterpart of the Yellow-headed Blackbird of North America, which it resembles even in the pattern of its sharply divided, two-toned plumage.


South America: it is not particularly common within its range from Bolivia, Paraguay, Brazil, and Argentina.


Photo by Stanley Jones
Pantanal, Mato Grosso, Brazil, August 2015

This is a monotypic species[1], which is the only member of its genus.


They are exclusively marsh-dwellers, preferring the central areas of large reed beds; particularly areas dominated by Arrowroot. Observed at heights around 128 m.



Their diet consists mostly of insects and proably small frogs. They may also eat seeds such as maize and sorghum.


They build an open cup nest in the fork of a shrub or woven into vegetation. The clutch consists of 2 eggs. They are thought to be monogamous


They perch conspicuously to give the loud, territorial song, which is very variable and includes rattles and nasal buzzes.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2015. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2015, with updates to August 2015. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved October 2015)
  3. BF Member observations

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