Brewer’s Blackbird

Euphagus cyanocephalus
Range Map

A wide-ranging bird, the Brewer’s Blackbird, though often found around outdoor food venues, is equally at home in wild rural settings. I have seen this bird often in the Great Basin. While these birds are found year round in the western USA and southern British Columbia, in places east of the Rocky Mountains like central Colorado, eastern Wyoming and Montana, and Alberta Canada and across the northern tier states to the Great Lakes, Brewer’s Blackbirds are strictly summer visitors. In the southern USA, from Arizona to the Carolinas and Florida, and into most of Mexico, winter is the only season when these birds are normally seen.

These birds range in elevation from 200 feet below sea level in southeastern California at the Salton Sea, to 11,000 feet in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Equally wide ranging is their choice of breeding habitat. We may find Brewer’s Blackbirds in fallow agricultural fields, pristine sage, disturbed rural roadsides, marshy bogs, ditches, road embankments, and many other surprising locations, such as shopping mall food courts. With such adaptability, Brewer’s Blackbirds have been colonizing ever eastward from their origins in the far western USA.

Many of my meetings with Brewer’s Blackbirds have been in California, but Oregon and Utah have provided me with enjoyable encounters with these birds. More recently, during my long trip through North America, I had the pleasure of their company at Grasslands National Park in southern Saskatchewan.

There is a difference of opinion regarding the existence of Brewer’s Blackbird subspecies. Most researchers regard them as monotypic, but others call out three or even four subspecies.

43 Photos

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