- 8.3–9.8 in
- 14.6 in
- 1.7–2.8 oz
- Quiscale rouilleux (French)
- Like most members of the blackbird family, the Rusty Blackbird undergoes only one molt per year. The change in appearance between winter and summer results from the rust-colored feather tips of "winter plumage" wearing off and leaving behind the smooth black or gray "breeding plumage."
- The Rusty Blackbird feeds mostly on insects and plant matter, but it sometimes attacks and eats other birds. It has been documented feeding on sparrows, robins, and snipe, among others.
Breeds in wet forests, including areas with fens, bogs, muskeg, and beaver ponds. Winters in swamps, wet woodlands, and pond edges.
In summer, mostly insects; in winter, acorns, pine seeds, and fruit.
- Clutch Size
- 3–6 eggs
- Egg Description
- Blue-green to pale gray, with variable amount of brown markings.
- Condition at Hatching
- Helpless with sparse down.
Bulky bowl with an outer layer of twigs, grass, and lichens. Wet, rotting plant matter is placed in this outer layer, then dries and hardens. Placed in trees and shrubs, near water.
Forages on ground, often in flocks. Wades in water. Flips over leaves and twigs.
Breeding Bird Survey data show a significant decline from 1966 to 2001. Low densities and remote breeding habitat make clear determination of trends difficult. Listed on the Audubon Watchlist
- Avery. M. L. 1995. Rusty Blackbird (Euphagus carolinus). In The Birds of North America, No. 200 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, and The American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C.