Red-winged Blackbirds

Red-winged Blackbirds spend their breeding season in fresh or saltwater marshes where they build their nests low among vertical shoots of marsh reeds, grasses, and shrubs.

Red-winged Blackbird (male)


Now is the time you’ll find male Red-winged Blackbirds sitting on a high perch over their territories, guarding against intruders and singing their hearts out.

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Red-winged Blackbird (male)


The females are found mostly along the reeds and grasses, foraging for food and nesting materials.  So I was thrilled to find this female taking a break up on a perch.

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Red-winged Blackbird (female)

(Photos taken at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, Cambridge, MD)


37 thoughts on “Red-winged Blackbirds

    • They were everywhere at the refuge, it was quite a spectacle of RWB noise. Backyard might not be so cool in the tighter quarters, lol. We have a Robin that starts singing his heart out on a branch directly out our bedroom window at 4:00 a.m. Wish he could wait at least another hour and a half! πŸ™‚

    • When I first learned about them, I too was surprised on the female looking so different. I always thought she was another bird species. πŸ™‚ They are a joy to hear across the Eastern Shore marshes.

  1. Beautiful captures! We’ve had the males for weeks but the girls have just started to show up. Climate change has not seemed to deter them too much yet. The guys were singing away long before the robins started. πŸ™‚

  2. A great find Donna! It is a beautiful contrast to see the bright red against the black. The female has a beautiful pattern, and of course is brown for protection purposes while nesting.and fledging the young.

    • Thanks Ashley! Years ago I got a beautiful sighting of a flock of males taking flight, the sun shining perfectly on them. The red spots everywhere was gorgeous. πŸ™‚ Yes, the female is quite stunning!

  3. Great photos! Despite the bright colors of the male, I think the female is prettier. Any day now I expect to hear one that has migrated back here for the summer.

  4. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen the female, or would have recognized her if I had. Thanks for the lesson in identifying her. Superb shots, as usual!

    • Thanks Gunta! Back in the day, I thought the female was another species and remember trying to ID her, I was surprised when I finally figured her out to be a RWB. She has great camouflage for the marsh reeds and grasses. πŸ™‚

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