Blackbird family (Icteridae)
7 ½” long. Male (top image) – all black with a red shoulder patch bordered by yellow. Female (bottom image) – brown back, heavily streaked breast, prominent white eyebrow stripe Female is well-camouflaged for nesting in grasses.
Wet meadows, abandoned fields.
Nest is a deep narrow cup of grasses, attached to tall grasses up to 10 feet above the ground. Eggs are greenish blue with dark marks. Clutch size – 3 to 4 eggs.
Song is a loud “ok-a-lee” or “konk-a-ree”. Calls include “check” and a high-pitched whistle.
Agelaius, Greek, agelaios for “flocking”; phoeniceus, Latin for “red” for the red color introduced into Greece by the Phoenicians.
In the Nature Park:
Short-distance migrant, arrives in February. Males arrive before females and establish territories. Males are easily observed in the wet meadows cattails of the Quarry Bottom and other parts of the Nature Park. Females are more cryptic, but with patience, can be observed in the same habitat.