Living Bird Magazine
Rusty BlackbirdEuphagus carolinus
- ORDER: Passeriformes
- FAMILY: Icteridae
Rusty Blackbird is one of North America’s most rapidly declining species. The population has plunged an estimated 85-99 percent over the past forty years and scientists are completely puzzled as to what is the cause. They are relatively uncommon denizens of wooded swamps, breeding in the boreal forest and wintering in the eastern U.S. In winter, they travel in small flocks and are identified by their distinctive rusty featheredges and pallid yellow eyes.More ID Info
- Tordo Canadiense (Spanish)
- Quiscale rouilleux (French)
- Cool Facts
- 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.
- The oldest recorded Rusty Blackbird was at least 8 years, 7 months old. It was banded in Arkansas in 1931, and shot in 1939 in Mississippi.