Common Name

Scientific Name


Photo by Robert T. Maytum
Photo Courtesy of Robert T. Maytum

Brewer's blackbird, Euphagus cyanocephalus, breeds in the western and north-central United States, as well as in southwestern Canada. Populations withdraw from the northern portions of the breeding range during winter and migrate south as far as southern Mexico. The species is found in a variety of habitats, most often in fields, agricultural lands, parks, and other open areas. Brewer's blackbirds feed largely on invertebrates and some seeds.

Nests may be found in a wide variety of habitats, but are frequently located between eighteen and thirty feet high in trees near water and in urban shade trees. Nests are built of twigs, grasses, and mud, and are sometimes built in small colonies or pairs. Females construct the nests in March or April. Usually five or six eggs are laid and incubated by the female alone for twelve or thirteen days. Until the eggs hatch, the male does not participate in nesting, except for guarding the nesting colony against predators. Young are cared for by both parents and leave the nest after thirteen days, although they continue to be fed for an additional twelve or thirteen days.


  • Ehrlich, P. R., D. S. Dobkin, and D. Wheye. 1988. The birder's handbook: a field guide to the natural history of North American birds. Simon and Shuster, Inc., New York. xxx + 785 pp.

  • Baicich, P. J., and C. J. O. Harrison. 1997. A guide to the nests, eggs, and nestlings of North American Birds, Second Ed. Academic Press, San Diego. 347 pp.