Rusty blackbird

Euphagus carolinus

TAXONOMY

Turdus carolinus Müller, 1776, Carolina. Two geographically discrete forms recognized.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

French: Quiscale rouilleux; German: Roststärling; Spanish: Tordo Canadiense.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

8-9 in (20.5-23 cm); female 1.7-2.7 oz (47-76.5 g), male 1.6-2.8 oz (46-80.5 g). Sexes similar in color. Entirely black with a greenish or sometimes purplish gloss, a square-tipped tail, thin bill, and pale yellow eyes. Juveniles brownish, with a paler brown throat and stripe above the eye, and sometimes with the black flecking on the undersides.

DISTRIBUTION

Breeds from western Alaska east across northern Yukon, central Northwest Territories, northern Manitoba and north-central Labrador and Newfoundland south to southern Alaska, northwest British Columbia, central Saskatchewan, southern Ontario, northeastern New York, and western Massachusetts. Winters from the northern states east of the Rockies, south to the Gulf coast and northern Florida, west to eastern Texas.

HABITAT

Moist woodlands (primarily coniferous) and bogs. In winter, found in open, wet woodland, pastures, and cultivated fields.

BEHAVIOR

Territorial during the breeding season. They are usually solitary nesters, but small colonies are not infrequent in Newfoundland and Labrador. Males defend a territory with songs and chasing. In winter, usually found in flocks; when alarmed, they fly to the nearest bush or tree. In winter, they may flock with other species of blackbirds, but flocks of only rusty blackbirds are not uncommon.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Forage mostly on ground or low in vegetation. Their food is principally insects, but they will take small birds, and eat some grain and other seeds.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Monogamous. The nest is a bulky cup of twigs, grass, and other plant matter, which may be placed on the ground or as high as 23 ft (7 m). Generally 4-5 eggs are laid in May-June. Incubation about 14 days; fledging about 12 days. Single brooded.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened. Widespread and common, but numbers declining.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

0 0

Post a comment