Euphagus cyanocephalus


This bird is commonly found throughout the western US and Canada. Ground feeder that primarily eats flying insects, but will also wade into water for aquatic insects. Seeds, berries, invertebrates, and human trash are also on their food list. Commonly seen in large flocks and often with other bird species, such as Red-Winged Blackbirds and Brown- Headed Cowbirds. Males and females separate for the winter migration.


General: 8 to 10 inches in length.

Male: All black plumage. Purple iridescence on head, green sheen on back. Yellow eye. Pointy, sharp-looking, black bill. Black legs. It's relative, the Rusty Blackbird lacks the purple iridescence.

Female: Dark gray-brown plumage. Underparts are lighter with a paler supercilium and throat. Brown eye. Same bill and legs as male.


Open country and grasslands near water, backyards.


3-5 gray eggs with brown spots and a 12-14 day incubation period. Fledging occurs 13-14 days after hatching. The nest is an open cup made from mud, grass, and twigs. It is lined with softer grasses and hair. The nest is built on the ground or in a tree. Nests have been found on the ground and as high as 150 feet above the ground.These birds nest in loose colonies of up to 30 pairs.

Observed Locations:

  • Lake Murray, La Mesa
  • Wigginton Ranch, Tijuana River Valley
  • Santee Lakes, Santee

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