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Tawny-shouldered Blackbird - BirdForum Opus

Male, subspecies humeralis
Photo © by binus1963
Cuba, 2015
Agelaius humeralis


19–22 cm (7½-8¾ in)

  • Glossy black overall plumage
  • Tawny upperwing-coverts
  • Dark brown iris
  • Black bill and legs

Female similar but lacks gloss and has a smaller epaulette


Subspecies scopolus has smaller epaulettes and a smaller and thinner bill.


Common in Cuba and rare in the northern Haiti. Normally not considered a part of the bird life of the Dominican Republic.

Vagrants have been found in the Cayman Islands and the United States.


This is a polytypic species, consisting of two subspecies[1]:

  • A. h. scopulus:
  • Cayo Cantiles (off southern Cuba)
  • A. h. humeralis:


Open woodland, woodland edges, farmland and rice fields.



Their diet consists mainly of insects, such as bees, arthropods, small lizards and seeds. They also eat fruit and nectar.


Monogamous. The female takes most responsibility for constructing the nest, which is cup-shaped, made from dried grass, moss, twigs, hair and feathers. It is positioned in tree or palm, usually near water.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2019. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World: v2019. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Fraga, R. (2020). Tawny-shouldered Blackbird (Agelaius humeralis), version 1.0. In Birds of the World (J. del Hoyo, A. Elliott, J. Sargatal, D. A. Christie, and E. de Juana, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.tasbla.01

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