Galleries » Bird Galleries » Blackbird Group » Red-Winged Blackbird

Red-Winged Blackbird

Agelaius phoeniceus

The Red-Winged Blackbird ranges year-round over most of the lower 48 states in the USA, but in summer they can breed as far north as northern Canada and even Alaska. These birds are believed to be the most numerous birds in North America, as well as the most studied. Male birds can have as many as fifteen mates in a season, and will vigorously defend their territory. Wintering flocks of a million birds have been reported.

Today science recognises twenty-four subspecies of Red-Winged Blackbirds. Some of these races have long migrations, such as A. p. arctolegus which travel between their summer breeding grounds in Alaska and the Canadian Yukon, and their winter homes in the south-central USA states. Most races of these birds have a more limited migration or stay year-round on their territories.

The Red-Winged Blackbirds I met in mid-March at Aransas NWR were all girls, and no boys insight. I’d forgotten the sexes split into separate groups in winter (bachelors and bachelorettes) until breeding time comes around. By mid-April, when I was in south Texas I started seeing both sexes loosely associated.

Click map markers to reveal further information

Click map markers to reveal further information