The Rusty Blackbird is
only a migrant in the state, as it summers throughout Canada and winters
primarily in the Southeastern United States. The species strongly prefers
locations near water, both in migration and winter, and on its summer breeding
grounds. Even at peak in migration, they are generally an uncommon bird
compared to some of the other blackbirds in the state. Summer birds are
dull black overall with much less gloss than some other blackbirds, such as
Common Grackles. Their name comes
from the rusty-brown plumage they acquire for the winter, as in the photo to the
Habitat: Strongly prefers habitats near
water. Summer breeding grounds are muskeg swamps in Canada. During
migration and winter, is also generally found near wooded swamps and tree-lined
Diet: The primary food item is insects,
including many aquatic insects. Will also eat small mollusks and
crustaceans, small fish, and seeds and waste grain.
Behavior: Primarily forages on the ground near
water, or by foraging in shallow water. Often gregarious, forming
mixed flocks with other blackbird species, especially in migration and in
Breeding: Non-breeder in South Dakota
Song: Song consists of low gurgling followed by a
Migration: Summers throughout much of Canada and Alaska.
Winters in the eastern half of the United States
Conservation Status: Numbers have declined
significantly since the 1960s.
Cornell Lab of Ornithology: Rusty Blackbird
eNature.com: Rusty Blackbird
Photo Information: October 9th, 2006 - Lake
County - Terry Sohl
Additional Photos: Click on the image chips or
text links below for additional, higher-resolution Rusty Blackbird photos.