Tricolored Blackbird

Silhouette BlackbirdsBlackbirds

Tricolored Blackbird

Agelaius tricolor
  • ORDER: Passeriformes
  • FAMILY: Icteridae
Basic Description

In California's Central Valley another blackbird with red shoulder patches congregates in marshes and croplands, but it's the Tricolored Blackbird—just as dazzling as the Red-winged Blackbird, but much rarer. Gregarious and noisy males flaunt their brilliant red shoulders, much like their more common cousin, but they have a white line below the shoulder and a buzzy, almost catlike song. Tricolored Blackbirds are declining due to extensive wetland loss and agricultural practices in the farm fields where they now nest.

More ID Info
image of range map for Tricolored BlackbirdRange map provided by Birds of North AmericaExplore Maps

Find This Bird

Agricultural areas in California's Central Valley are among the best places to go looking for Tricolored Blackbirds. You might need to visit a few areas before you find them, but when you do find a flock, there won't be a shortage of birds. During summer look for them along roads passing through farmlands and wetlands. Good places to check in California include Kern National Wildlife Refuge, Little Panoche Road in Fresno County, Lurline Road in Colusa County, Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, and Los Banos Wildlife Area. Elsewhere, eBird maps can help you zero in on recent sightings. Tricolored Blackbirds move around a lot during the nonbreeding season and can be harder to track down. Try looking for them in or near dairy farms and feedlots.

Other Names
  • Tordo Tricolor (Spanish)
  • Carouge de Californie (French)

Backyard Tips

Tricolored Blackbirds aren't likely to come to a bird feeder in urban areas, but if you live in rural areas near agricultural fields they might. You can also try putting out corn and other grains on the ground to entice them to your yard.

  • Cool Facts