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Yellow-headed Blackbird Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus


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Yellow-headed Blackbird, male
credit: Alan D. Wilson,/CCSA

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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

Description ADULT MALE Has bright yellow hood and breast (with black eye surround), and otherwise mostly black plumage, except for striking white wing patch (primary coverts). ADULT FEMALE Has a yellowish buff face and breast (palest on throat, malar stripe, and supercilium) and otherwise rather uniform and un_streaked dark brown plumage. JUVENILE Yellow-buff overall, darker above than below, with two white wing bars; first-winter female is similar to adult female; first-winter male is similar to adult female, but has hint of adult white wing patch, plus dark lores and more intense yellow suffusion on head.

Dimensions Length: 8-11" (20-28 cm)

Habitat Common summer visitor (mainly May-Aug) to marshy habitats; winters mainly in Mexico.

Observation Tips Easy to see.

Range Texas, Plains, Southeast, Southwest, Alaska, New England, Rocky Mountains, Northwest, Great Lakes, Western Canada, Florida, Mid-Atlantic, Eastern Canada, California

Voice Song comprises harsh, grating and chattering screeches; call is a dry k'duk.

Discussion Stocky wetland bird. Male is unmistakable. Forms flocks outside breeding season. Sexes are dissimilar and male is larger than female.