The Brewer's Blackbird is sexually dimorphic, though both sexes have a typical blackbird shape, and a thick, pointed bill.
Males are all black with a purplish sheen to the head and greenish sheen to the wings and upperparts. They have pale eyes.
Females are dull brownish above and below and usually have dark eyes.
Seasonal change in appearanceFall adult males lack the glossy sheen and resemble females, but are darker and more heavily marked.
JuvenileJuveniles resemble winter adults.
HabitatBrewer’s Blackbirds inhabit prairies, fields, and areas near human habitation.
DietBrewer's Blackbirds eat insects and seeds.
BehaviorBrewer's Blackbirds forage on the ground or in shallow water.
RangeBrewer's Blackbirds are resident throughout a large portion of the western U.S., and breed over large areas to the north of their permanent resident range. These migrant birds winter both east and south of their permanent range. The population has declined in recent years.
Bent Life History
Visit the Bent Life History for extensive additional information on the Brewer's Blackbird.
The shape of a bird's wing is often an indication of its habits and behavior. Fast flying birds have long, pointed wings. Soaring birds have long, broad wings. Different songbirds will have a slightly different wing shape. Some species look so much alike (Empidonax flycatchers) that scientists sometimes use the length of specific feathers to confirm a species' identification.
Wing images from the University of Puget Sound, Slater Museum of Natural History
Fun FactsBrewer's Blackbirds to some extent fill the niche of the Common Grackle in the western U.S.
Like most blackbirds, Brewer's Blackbirds often associate with other blackbird species outside of the breeding season.
VocalizationsThe song consists of a high, raspy, or buzzy sound. A "chek" call is given as well.
The Brewer's Blackbird's nest is a cup of twigs, grass, and weeds and is lined with finer materials. It is placed in a tree or on the ground.
EggsNumber: Usually 4-6.
Color: Grayish in color with darker markings.
Incubation and fledging:
The young hatch at about 12-14 days, and fledge at about 13-14 days, though remaining dependent on the adults for some time.