BREWER’S BLACKBIRD

BREWER’S BLACKBIRD(Euphagus cyanocephalus) – (See images below)
DESCRIPTION: The Brewer’s Blackbird adult male is black with a purple iridescent head. Rest of plumage has a shiny blue tone. Bill, legs and feet are black. Eyes are yellow. Female is brown with grey-brown wings and back. Bill, legs and feet are black. Eyes are usually brown. Juvenile has duller colours than the female. Bird length is around 22 cm (9 inches).
VOICE: https://www.xeno-canto.org/species/Euphagus-cyanocephalus
NAME: The name ‘Brewer’s’ was given to this bird to honor American ornithologist Thomas Mayo Brewer. Latin genus name ‘Euphagus’ means ‘good to eat’. Latin species name ‘cyanocephalus’ means ‘blue head’.
HABITAT: Open country such as fields, parks, prairies.
DIET: Insects, spiders, crustaceans, seeds, berries.
NESTING: Nests in small colonies on trees or in shrubs. From four to seven light grey eggs are laid, incubated by female. Chicks fed by both parents.
DISTRIBUTION: Breeds in southern half of Canada from Ontario to British Columbia, also in north central USA. Winters in southeast USA and Mexico. There’s also a year-round population in southwest USA.
Distribution Map: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brewer%27s_blackbird – /media/File:Euphagus_cyanocephalus_map.s
ON PEI: Does not breed on Prince Edward Island, sightings listed as ‘accidental’ so far. See note below on bird vagrancy.
CONSERVATION: Population widespread, has well adapted to suburban areas, but has also declined steadily over last few decades. Threats include poisoning and shooting by farmers as the species is considered an agricultural pest.
Vagrancy: In biology this means an animal going way outside its normal range. For birds, this can happen when there are storms and they get blown off course. On other times, the bird simply wanders in a different direction than usual. Here’s an article about vagrancy in birds.
SIMILAR SPECIES: Common Grackle, Rusty Blackbird
REFERENCES: https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/brewers-blackbird
http://fieldguide.mt.gov/speciesDetail.aspx?elcode=ABPBXB5020 (Montana Field Guide)
https://txtbba.tamu.edu/species-accounts/brewers-blackbird/ (Texas Breeding Bird Atlas)
https://birdatlas.mb.ca/accounts/speciesaccount.jsp?sp=BRBL&lang=en (Manitoba Breeding Bird Atlas)
https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Brewers_Blackbird/id
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brewer%27s_blackbird
https://identify.whatbird.com/obj/106/overview/Brewers_Blackbird.aspx
https://mnbirdatlas.org/species/brewers-blackbird/ (Minnesota Breeding Bird Atlas)

Brewer's Blackbird, male - Esquimalt Lagoon, BC - Sept. 2007 - photo by Alan D. Wilson
Brewer’s Blackbird, male – Esquimalt Lagoon, BC – Sept. 2007 – photo by Alan D. Wilson
Brewer's Blackbird, female - San Luis Obispo, CA - Sept. 2009 - photo by Alan Vernon
Brewer’s Blackbird, female – San Luis Obispo, CA – Sept. 2009 – photo by Alan Vernon

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