YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD

YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD(Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus)
DESCRIPTION: The Yellow-headed Blackbird has a yellow head, neck and chest. The adult male has a black body with a white patch on the wings, which is visible in flight. Females have a dark brown body and no white patch on the wing. The head and chest are yellow but duller. Juveniles are similar to the female, but the male has some white on the wing. The bird is around 25 cm (10 inches) long.
VOICE:  https://www.xeno-canto.org/species/Xanthocephalus-xanthocephalus – some calls have been described as similar to a chainsaw or a door swinging on rusty hinges.
NAME: English name self-explanatory. Latin genus and species name ‘Xanthocephalus’ means ‘yellow head’.
HABITAT: Marshes
DIET: Insects and seeds, usually in large flocks.
BREEDING/NESTING: This is a colonial bird that builds its nest in marshes. A male can mate with several females but only helps feeding the chicks from the first nest. Two to four light grey eggs are laid, incubated by the female. Chicks fed by both parents.
DISTRIBUTION: Breeds over the western half of Canada and the USA except coastal areas. Winters in Mexico for the most part.
ON PEI: Does not breed on Prince Edward Island, sightings occasional or ‘accidental’ (see photo below).
CONSERVATION: Population appears stable and not at risk.
NOTES: Has the same habitat as the Red-winged Blackbird, but former being larger it dominates the territory.
SIMILAR SPECIES: Red-winged Blackbird
REFERENCES: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/yellow-headed_blackbird/id
http://fieldguide.mt.gov/speciesDetail.aspx?elcode=ABPBXB3010 (Montana Field Guide)
https://identify.whatbird.com/obj/531/overview/Yellow-headed_Blackbird.aspx
https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/yellow-headed-blackbird
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellow-headed_blackbird

Yellow-headed blackbird, juvenile male - Priest Pond area, PEI - 9-27-17 - © Lois Kilburn
Yellow-headed blackbird, juvenile male – Priest Pond area, PEI – 9-27-17 – © Lois Kilburn
Yellow-headed Blackbird - 100 Mile House, BC - July 7, 2011 - Alan Vernon
Yellow-headed Blackbird – 100 Mile House, BC – July 7, 2011 – Alan Vernon

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