YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD


Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus


Description:

The Yellow-headed Blackbird is probably one of the most attractive (and colorful) of all the blackbird species. This, like other blackbirds, often associates with large mixed blackbird flocks. Yellow-headed Blackbirds feed on aquatic insects, grain, and weed seeds. The smaller Red-winged Blackbird is often displaced from prime nesting spots by the larger Yellow-headed Blackbird.


Appearance:

General: 8 to 10 inches in length.

Adult Male: Bright yellow head, neck, and breast. Black patch between eye and bill. Black body, wings, and tail. White wing patch (not always visible at rest).

Adult Female: Dull brownish-black plumage. Pale yellow supercilium, throat, and breast. White streaks extending down breast.

Juveniles: Similar to adult female.


Habitat:

Winters around agricultural areas. Breeds in freshwater marshes.


Nesting:

3-4 grayish-white eggs with dark brown spots and blotches. The eggs have an 11-13 day incubation period. Fledging occurs in 9-12 days. The nest is an woven open cup made from reed strips attached to dead or live reeds. The nest is always over water. The male may breed with up to eight females, but he only helps feed the young from one of the females. Nests in colonies.


Observed Locations:

  • Wigginton Stables, Tijuana River Valley





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