Common Name

Scientific Name

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Photo by U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Photo Courtesy of U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The red-winged blackbird, Agelaius phoeniceus, breeds throughout North America, from Canada to Central America, including parts of the West Indies. Populations in northern parts of the breeding range migrate south in large flocks to warmer climates for winter; the southern United States is a popular wintering area for the red-winged blackbird. The species is common year-round in Utah, where it can be found in marshes, agricultural areas, and brushy areas near water.

The red-winged blackbird nests near water in cattails or other brush. A clutch of two to five eggs is laid and then incubated by the female alone for about twelve days. Both parents tend the young, which can leave the nest at about ten days of age.

Red-winged blackbirds primarily eat seeds, grains, invertebrates, and fruits. The species is considered a pest in some agricultural areas because of the damage it does to crops.


  • Biotics Database. 2005. Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, NatureServe, and the network of Natural Heritage Programs and Conservation Data Centers.

  • Peterson, R. T., and V. M. Peterson. 1990. A field guide to western birds, 3rd ed. Houghton Mifflin, Boston. 432 pp.