An easily identifiable
bird of marshes and sloughs. Yellow-headed Blackbirds are described by many to have the absolute worst
male song of any U.S. bird. They usually nest in colonies in marshes
of cattails. During migration and in winter, they can sometimes be found
in huge flocks in open fields and pastures. A male is pictured at the
right; females are similar, but with much less vibrant yellow, and usually a
dark brown instead of black on the body (see photos at the bottom).
Habitat: Freshwater sloughs, marshy lake borders. Feeds
around marshes, farm fields, and feedlots.
Diet: Mostly seeds and insects, with the
majority of the diet likely seeds.
Behavior: Very gregarious, usually nesting in
colonies. Often gathers in huge mixed flocks of blackbirds during the winter
months and in migration.
Nesting: Late May through June
Song: Harsh, unpleasant ka-aaaaack
Migration: Neotropical migrant, wintering the
U.S. through Mexico and Central America.
Similar Species: Generally distinctive.
Conservation Status: Generally stable throughout its range,
although they are susceptible to habitat loss through wetland destruction.
Cornell Lab of Ornithology - Yellow-headed Blackbird
Photo Information: May 26th, 2003 --
Western Minnehaha County -- Terry L. Sohl
Additional Photos: Click on the image chips or
text links below for additional, higher-resolution Yellow-headed Blackbird photos.