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Tricolored Blackbird Agelaius tricolor


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Tricolored Blackbird, adult male
credit: Tsuru8/CCSA

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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Family: Icteridae, Blackbirds and Orioles view all from this family

Description ADULT MALE Has mostly black plumage; red shoulder patch has bright white border. In winter, black feathers have gray-buff edges. IMMATURE AND ADULT FEMALE Dark gray-brown with heavy streaking on back and underparts; plumage is least dark on throat, malar stripe, and supercilium. IMMATURE MALE Similar to winter male, but buff feather edges are more obvious.

Dimensions Length: 7 1/2-9" (19-23 cm)

Habitat Wetland and farmland resident, almost entirely restricted to California.

Observation Tips Easy to see within range.

Range California, Southwest, Northwest

Voice Song is harsh, grating and screechy; call is a dull chuk.

Discussion Flock-forming, colonial bird. Bill is more slender than Red-winged's. Male is separated from typical form of Red-winged Blackbird by bright white (not yellow) edge to red "shoulder." Female is very similar to female Red-winged; some birds may not be identifiable with certainty in the field, but plumage is usually darker overall, without "warm" brown tones; throat is always whitish (some Red-winged females have a pinkish buff throat). Sexes are dissimilar.