Nature Journal
with Photos

Red-winged Blackbird Identification Tips
(Credit: U. S. Geological Survey)
General Information
- Sharply-pointed bill
- Frequents marshy habitats in summer, open habitats
   at other times of year
- Often flocks with other species of blackbirds

Adult male
- Bright red patch on wings bordered by yellow (border
   missing in some races)
- Black plumage
- Immature male similar to adult male but has pale
   supercilium and brown edges to black feathers

Adult female
- Pale supercilium
- Heavily streaked underparts
- Upperparts brown and white
- Sometimes has yellow tinge to face and throat
- Females very dark in some races

- Similar to adult female

Similar species
The male Red-winged Blackbird can be told from the male Tricolored Blackbird by its yellowish, not white, border to the red shoulder patch. Females are quite similar but Tricoloreds typically have darker bellies. Tricolored Blackbirds are only found in Oregon and California.

Other species of blackbirds lack the red shoulder patch of the male and the streaked underparts of the female.
Return to Red-winged Blackbird page