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Tricolored Blackbird - BirdForum Opus

Revision as of 18:21, 5 July 2014 by Deliatodd-18346 (talk | contribs) (→‎Taxonomy: Update link)
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Agelaius tricolor
Photo by Forcreeks
Lindo Lake, Lakeside, California, February 2004


L. 7-9 1/2" (18-24 cm) Male: Black with bright red shoulder patches (epaulettes), bordered by white below
Female & Immature: Heavily streaked with dusky brown

Similar Species

Red-winged Blackbird which has yellow below the red shoulder patch.

Photo by Marysan
San Diego, California, March 2005


Southern Oregon south to Baja California. Apparently overshoots occasionally to Washington.


This is a monotypic species[1].


Marshes, swamps, and wet and dry meadows; pastures as long as there is any kind of water nearby.


After the breeding season, the birds gather with other blackbirds in flocks, sometimes numbering in the hundreds of thousands. At this time, the blackbirds are often considered pests because they consume grain in cultivated fields; however, farmers benefit because the birds consume harmful insects during the nesting season.


Nesting: 3-5 pale blue eggs, spotted and scrawled with dark brown and purple, in a well-made cup of marsh grass or reeds, attached to growing marsh vegetation or built in a bush in a marsh. Each pair raises two or three broods a season, building a new nest for each clutch.


A rich, musical o-ka-leeee!


  1. Clements, JF. 2008. The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to December 2008. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0801445019.

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