Red-Winged Blackbird: 19 Facts You Won’t Believe!

Discover interesting red-winged blackbird facts.

The red-winged blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) is a North American bird that can be identified by its  unique red feathers. They are also known as the bicolored blackbird species of California and have about 20 to 24 recognized sub-species. This bird can be found in various territories but their main habitat preference includes cattail marshes, wet meadows, and hay fields. Their appearance is also easily identified. A male red-winged blackbird has a bright red shoulder with yellow feather and an all-black plumage. On the other hand, a female red-winged blackbird will have brown feathers with stripes and pink or salmon pink coloring on the shoulders.  

Red-winged blackbirds eat seeds and insects like dragonflies or mayflies. They usually stays in flocks and even the nesting territory of couples is close by. High-pitched calls are used for communication or alerts. The breeding season of these birds lasts from early spring to mid summer. Male red-winged blackbird tends to protect the nesting territory and ward of other males. Females build a nest and can lay around three to five eggs per breeding season with an incubation period of 11 days.

If you liked reading about red-winged blackbirds, you can also read about toco toucan and sociable weaver.

Red-Winged Blackbird

Fact File

What do they prey on?

Seeds and insects

What do they eat?


Average litter size?

3-4 eggs

How much do they weigh?

1.46-2.3 oz (41.5-64 g)

How long are they?

12 -16 in (30.4-40.6 cm)

How tall are they?

6.7–9.4 in (17- 24 cm)

What do they look like?

Black, brown, red, and yellow

Skin Type


What are their main threats?

Climate change

What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them

Cattail marsh and brushy swamps


North America





Scientific Name

Agelaius phoeniceus





Red-Winged Blackbird Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a red-winged blackbird?

Red-winged blackbirds or bicolored blackbirds is a species of song birds often found in various parts of North America. They are usually easy to spot thanks to the red and yellow coloring on their shoulder patches.

What class of animal does a red-winged blackbird belong to?

The red-winged blackbird species belongs to the class of birds from the Agelaius genus of the Icteridae family. The scientific name Agelaius is derived from the Greek word 'gregarious' and 'phoeniceus' in Latin meaning 'crimson' or 'red'.

How many red-winged blackbirds are there in the world?

Red-winged bicolored blackbirds have a population of about 250 million,

Where does a red-winged blackbird live?

Red-winged blackbirds are found all around the marshes of North America in large numbers. They can be found in various habitats or territories like California, Alaska, Yukon, Newfoundland, Costa Rica, Atlantic, and Mexico.

What is a red-winged blackbird's habitat?

The red-winged blackbird species is found is various types of habitat. They prefer cattail marshes the most, followed by wooded swamps, wet meadows, brushy swamps, hay fields, salt marshes, and roadside ditches. They can also be found in agricultural areas, especially during winter.  They can be very protective of their territory and breeding grounds.

Who do red-winged blackbirds live with?

Red-winged bicolored blackbirds are known to live in flocks and communicate using calls. Flocks are generally male dominated and female red-winged blackbirds tend to lay low near nesting sites. During migration, they tend to move together.

How long does a red-winged blackbird live?

The lifespan of the red-winged blackbird species will range from one and half to two years in the wild. In captivity, they may live a little longer.

How do they reproduce?

The breeding season of these bicolored birds tends to be from early spring to mid-summer. They are not monogamous and a male red-winged blackbird may have about 15 partners in one season. A female red-winged blackbird will weave a nest made out of twigs and other plant materials in shrubs and other safe places. Once the nest is made, these birds can have a brood of about three to five eggs. The female red-winged blackbird tends to incubate the egg for 11 days, while the male red-winged blackbird will protect the nest or breeding grounds from other males and threats. Males generally have loud calls or screams with an aggressive display to warn intruders or crows and can attack them but only in self defense. The hatched young ones are ready to leave the nest after about 5 weeks.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of these birds is Least Concern, which means the populations of red-winged blackbird is stable. These birds are one of the most abundant birds in North America.  

Red-Winged Blackbird Fun Facts

What do red-winged blackbirds look like?

Male red-winged blackbirds are known to have all-black feathers and red shoulders with yellow outline. Females look different and have a brown plumage and pink shoulders with stripes all over. These birds have a sharply pointed beak and pale eyebrows.

Red-winged blackbirds like to live in cattail marshes.

How cute are they?

Red-winged blackbirds look very adorable and their red and yellow shoulder coloring is very beautiful to look at. Males are very stubborn in protecting their breeding territory while the red-winged blackbird nest is made by females.

How do they communicate?

Red-winged blackbirds communicate using calls, screeches, and song singing. They can also communicate using body language and pheromones. The red-winged blackbird song is a way to protec their territory.

How big is a red-winged blackbird?

The average height of a red-winged blackbird can range from 6.7–9.4 in (17- 24 cm). Males are larger than females. Males measure 22–24 cm (8.7–9.4 in) while females are 17–18 cm (6.7–7.1 in). The wingspan of this bird is about 12 -16 in (30.4-40.6 cm). They are about twice the size of an average hummingbird.

How fast can a red-winged blackbird move?

There are no studies that estimate the speed of a red-winged blackbird but on average, they are considered to be quite a fast bird.

How much does a red-winged blackbird weigh?

The average weight of this bird is 1.46-2.3 oz (41.5-64 g). Males are usually heavier and larger than females.

What are their male and female names of the species?

There are no specific names for a male and female red-winged bicolored blackbird.

What would you call a baby red-winged blackbird?

There is no particular name for young red-winged blackbirds but they can be called chicks or fledglings.

What do they eat?

Red-winged blackbirds eat seeds and insects like dragonflies, mayflies, moths, or butterflies. In winter, they mainly rely on grains. They can also have snails, frogs, eggs, spiders, rice or corn waste. Main predators of this bird are raccoons, American mink, long-tailed weasels, snakes, and hawks.

Are they dangerous?

Red-winged blackbirds are completely harmless to humans. However, during breeding season, they are known to attack humans by swooping, similar to an Australian magpie.

Would they make a good pet?

Red-winged blackbirds are free birds and live better when they are able to fly freely.

Did you know...

If you see a red-winged blackbird, it is a positive omen and means you need to draw from your inner self. While red-winged blackbirds normally live for only two years, the maximum age of a blackbird recorded was 15 years and 9 months in the wild. The red-winged blackbird call sounds like a distinct 'conk-aa-ree'.

What does a female red-winged blackbird look like?

Female red-winged blackbirds are smaller than a male and are dark in color. The female bird will have a brown plumage and streaks of a cream shade on their body. They also have a white streak above their eyes. Female redwings can have salmon pink shaded on their shoulders.

Do red-winged blackbirds migrate?

Breeding areas of this bird species is usually in northern areas like Canada and upper states of the United States. They tend to migrate south for the winter season as early as August and October. Spring migration begins mid-February to mid-May, back to the breeding territory. Red-winged blackbirds can migrate a distance of 750 mi (1,200 km) every season.  

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds including keel-billed toucan, or umbrellabird.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable red-winged blackbird coloring pages.



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