Yellow-headed Blackbird

Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus

Order

PASSERIFORMES

Family

Blackbirds (Icteridae)

Code 4

YHBL

Code 6

XANXAN

ITIS

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ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The Yellow-headed Blackbird has an enormous range reaching up to generally 4.7 million square kilometers. This bird can be found in Canada, the United States and Mexico with vagrant colonies in such areas as Bahamas, Barbados, Costa Rica, Cuba, Greenland, Iceland, Panama, Saint Pierre and Miquelon. Its preferred habitat includes inland wetlands such as bogs, marshes, swamps and fens and also arable and pasturelands as well. The global population of this bird is estimated to be around 23 million individuals. It is not believed that the population trends for this species will soon approach the minimum levels that could suggest a potential decline in population. Due to this, population trends for the Yellow-headed Blackbird have a present evaluation level of Least Concern.

IBIRD EXPLORER GENERAL

PHOTO SHARING AND DISCUSSION

BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

Yellow-headed Blackbird: Medium-sized blackbird with black body, bright yellow hood and breast, and distinct white wing patches. Bill, legs and feet are black. Forages in low vegetation and on the ground. Feeds on insects, larvae, snails, seeds, and grains. Strong direct flight on rapid wing beats.


Range and Habitat

Yellow-headed Blackbird: Breeds from central British Columbia, northern Alberta, and Wisconsin south to southern California, northern New Mexico, and Illinois. Spends winters in southern U.S. and northern Mexico. Nests in freshwater marshes; during migration and winter prefers open, cultivated lands, fields, and pastures.

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SONGS AND CALLS

Voice Text

"croak"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • Depending on the quality of his territory, a male Yellow-headed Blackbird may be able to acquire up to six mates. Males who acquire new territory do not destroy broods sired by the previous territorial male.
  • In winter, single-species flocks may form, sometimes consisting of all males or all females. Large foraging flocks move in a rolling fashion, birds from the back of the flock fly over the rest to the front.
  • They have one of the most unique bird calls. It has been described as a strange mixture of honking, gurgling and strangling noises.
  • A group of blackbirds has many collective nouns, including a "cloud", "cluster", and "merl" of blackbirds.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP

CERange Map for Yellow-headed Blackbird

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Gary Owen Dick

Artist

Yury Lisyak

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

BACKYARD BIRDING

BIRDS AND BIRDING

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BreastX
The upper front part of a bird.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X