Euphagus cyanocephalus
(Brewer's Blackbird)


Order: Passeriformes
Order Description: Passerines
Family: Icteridae
Family Description: Blackbirds, Orioles, & Meadowlarks

Physical Description:
8-10" (20-25 cm). Male is shiny black all over with yellow eyes. Female has a pale brown head and chest; gray wings, back, and tail; and black eyes.

Similar Species- Rusty Blackbird, Grackles

Song:
A high pitched, descending note followed by a chuck.

Distribution:
Breeds from central interior British Columbia, east to western Great Lakes area, and south to northwestern Baja California, southern Nevada, western and northern Texas, and northern Indiana. Winters from southern British Columbia, and central Alberta, eastern Montana, Kansas, Arizona, and western South Carolina, south to portions of Mexico, southern Texas, Gulf Coast, and southern Florida.

Habitat:
Found in shrubby and bushy areas (especially near water), in riparianClick word for definition woodlands, aspen parklands, cultivated lands, marshes, and around human habitation. During migrationClick word for definition and in winter, also found in pastures and fields. Idaho study conducted in riparian habitat found Brewer's Blackbirds favored grazed over ungrazed areas.

Diet:
Feeds on insects, seeds, waste grain, and fruits.

Ecology:
Builds nest in tree (usually coniferousClick word for definition), or sometimes in shrub or on ground. Nests in loose colonies (3-20 pairs). Forages on ground, or takes food from foliage or in air. Sometimes follows plows to eat uncovered insects. Often seen in large flocksClick word for definition; may forage with other blackbirds.

Reproduction:
clutchClick word for definition size varies from 3-7 eggs, but is usually 5-6. Incubation lasts 12-14 days. Young are tended by both adults, and fly 13-14 days after hatching. Female may produce 2 broodsClick word for definition. Males may be polygynousClick word for definition.

Conservation:
Element Code: ABPBXB5020
Status: Protected nongame species
Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S5,NTMB
National Rank: N5B,N5N

Important State References:
Medin, D.E. and W.P. Clary. 1990. Bird and small mammal populations in a grazed and ungrazed riparian habitat in Idaho. USDA Forest Service Inter. Res. Sta. Res. Paper INT-245. 8pp.


Photo by C. Trost,© 1999
Design by Ean Harker©1999, 2000.
Written by Jason Karl, 2000.