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Yellow-headed Blackbird - BirdForum Opus

Photo © by BigSkyBirds
Benton Lake National Wildlife Refuge, Montana, USA
Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus


Male 26·5 cm (10½ in):

  • Yellow head, neck and breast
  • Black around the eye to base of bill
  • Rest of body black
  • White wing patches
  • There is a rare orange/red headed variant

Females 21·5 cm (8½ in)

  • Smaller and browner overall, except for a yellow throat and upper breast. Lower breast streaked with white. Lacks white wing patches.


Breeding range extends from British Columbia to the Great Lakes region, and throughout the western and central U.S. Resident populations can be found along the U.S. west coast.

Winters in the southern U.S. and Mexico.


Photo © by countryboy2
British Columbia, July 2015

This is a monotypic species[1].


Photo © by AndyS56
Bear River Bird Refuge, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, 2 June 2015

Freshwater marshes and lakes with reeds are areas for nesting and roosting, during fouraging often spreads into farmland.



Their diet consists of seeds from weeds and crops; and also insects.


Loud, with a variety of calls.


Click on photo for larger image


  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. Twedt, D. J. and R. D. Crawford (2020). Yellow-headed Blackbird (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus), version 1.0. In Birds of the World (A. F. Poole and F. B. Gill, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.yehbla.01

Recommended Citation

External Links

GSearch checked for 2020 platform.1