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Brewer’s Blackbird
Euphagus cyanocephalus

Passeriforme Order – Icteridae Family

 

BIOMETRIE:
Length : 20-25 cm
Wingspan : 37 cm
Weight : 47-67 g

LONGEVITY: up to 11 years

DESCRIPTION
Brewer’s Blackbird male is black year round, with purplish iridescence on head and neck, and greenish gloss on body and wings, with contrast between head and body. We can see brown feathers edges on tail and wings.
Male has yellow eyes and pale supercilium. It has sharp and pointed blackish bill.

Female is usually brown or grey brown. Head and neck show light purplish gloss. Body is metallic greenish, but wings and tail are darker and glossier. She has dark eye line, and dark brown eyes.
Juvenile is similar to female, but paler and it lacks gloss.
Chicks are covered with sparse pale grey down at hatching.

VOICE: SOUNDS BY XENO-CANTO
Typical Brewer’s Blackbird’s call is a harsh “check”. Song is a wheezy “que-ee” or “K-seee”.

HABITAT:
Brewer’s Blackbird is common in open areas, such as farmlands, fields, residential areas and urban parks.

RANGE:
Brewer’s Blackbird breeds from SW Canada to Ontario, and southward in west to Mexico and in Midwest to northern Illinois.
It winters from S British Columbia, southward into southern Mexico and eastward along the southern United States to western Florida.

BEHAVIOUR:
Brewer’s Blackbird is gregarious. It forages in large mixed flocks with other blackbirds. It forages on ground, but it may hunt aquatic insects by wading up to the belly in water, or even, by hovering over water.
Brewer’s Blackbird is an opportunistic bird, taking advantage of food generated by human activities. They forage in flocks in fields, eating large numbers of insects, and agricultural pests.

It nests in compact colonies, from a few pairs to more than one hundred. In the colony, a female, sometimes with a male, defends and protects an area around the nest site.
Brewer’s Blackbird may sometimes practice polygamy, when surplus of females are available. They gather in spring after spending the winter season separately, in migrating flocks. 
While Brewer’s Blackbird walks on the ground, it bobs its head forward in a short and jerky motion.
Male performs an elaborate display during breeding season, including fluffing out feathers, spread wings and tail, cocking tail and pointing bill upward.

FLIGHT:
Brewer’s Blackbird is a short distance migrant. Groups alight on branches in loose manner and silently. They hover above the water to catch aquatic insects.

REPRODUCTION:
Brewer’s Blackbird’s nest is located on ground, or in a shrub, or in tall tree at about 30 feet high.
Female builds an open cup with fine twigs and grasses on outer parts, then with grasses, pine needles and plant fibres mixed with mud and cow dung, to get a firm cup, and nest is lined with rootlets and hair.

Female lays 3 to 7 pale grey or greenish eggs, marked with brown. Incubation lasts about 12 to 14 days, by female, while male protects her and the nest site, and occasionally, feeds her.
Chicks hatch altricial and are fed by both parents. They fledge at about 13 to 14 days.
This species produces only one clutch, occasionally two.

DIET:
Brewer’s Blackbird feeds on invertebrates, such as arthropods, spiders, insects, snails and crustaceans. They feed their chicks with a diet including 90% insects; they also feed on seeds, grains and berries.

 

PROTECTION / THREATS / STATUS:
Brewer’s Blackbird is widespread and abundant.

Fr: Quiscale de Brewer
All : Purpurstärling
Esp : Turpial Ojiclaro
Ital : Merlo di Brewer
Nd : Brewer-troepiaal
Sd : Prärietrupial

Photographs by Tom Merigan
His website: Tom Meriganís Photo Galleries

Text by Nicole Bouglouan

Sources:

FIELD GUIDE TO THE BIRDS OF NORTH AMERICA - National Geographic Society - ISBN: 0792274512

Avibase (Lepage Denis)

All About Birds (Cornell Lab of Ornithology)

What Bird-The ultimate Bird Guide (Mitchell Waite)

SORA Searchable Ornithological Research Archive (Blair O. Wolf)

Longevity records

South Dakota Birds and Birding (Terry L. Sohl)

 

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