Black Birds In Illinois

Black Birds In Illinois

Blackbirds are common throughout Illinois, but they aren’t native to the state. Did you know that blackbirds are found only in North America?

Blackbirds are large, noisy, ground-dwelling birds that eat insects and seeds. They are also known for their distinctive black and white plumage. Blackbirds migrate from Canada to South America each spring and back again in fall.

Black Birds In Illinois

Blackbirds are often confused with crows because they look similar. However, blackbirds are much larger and weigh around 2 pounds, compared to crows’ size and weight of 0.5 pounds.

The blackbird is a medium-sized songbird (about 12 inches long) with a short tail. The male has a red crown, an orange face, a yellow bill, and a dark brown body with light gray underparts.

Females have a browner head than males. Both sexes have a black stripe on either side of the neck.

Blackbirds nest in trees or shrubs and lay two eggs per clutch. The female incubates the eggs while the male brings food to her. After hatching, both parents feed the chicks. When the young leave the nest, they are about 5 weeks old.

There are many types of blackbirds in Illinois.

Some of these include the following: American Robin, Eastern Meadowlark, Western Meadowlark, Common Grackle, Carolina Wren, and Baltimore Oriole. These birds are known as the Icteridae family and are commonly called blackbirds.

Red-Winged Blackbird

Red-Winged Blackbird

A stocky, broad-shoulder blackbird with a slender bill and a medium-long tail. Males have a red-colored wing patch.

Red-winged blackbirds often show a humpbacked silhouette while perched; they often sit with tails slightly flared.

They are smaller than a Northern cardinal but larger than an American robin. They are pot-bellied with a longer beak and flat forehead. Their tails are average length.

Northern Cardinal Grains

Northern Cardinal Grains

Northern Cardinal Grains are used by birds to feed their young. Sunflower seeds are used by birds to make nests. Birds use these to attract other birds.

European Starling

European Starling

European Starlings are an invasive species. They’re not supposed to be here. In 1890, one hundred starlings were brought over from Europe. They spread quickly across the US.

They compete with native birds for food and habitat. Starling birds are very dangerous because they eat up all the food you have put out for your birds. You must use strong methods to keep them away from your feeder.

Brown-Headed Cowbird

Brown-Headed Cowbird

This is an example of the “pigeon problem” (also called the “pigeon paradox”). In this case, we’re trying to figure out if pigeons are smart enough to know when to leave their homes and when to stay put.

We can see that they’ve learned to adapt well to living near humans, but what about the fact that they’re also letting other birds do the hard work?

American Robin

American Robin

A stocky, chunky, black-billed blackbird is found by the riverbank. It may be hard to see because of its dark plumage, but the male has a brownish head.

He has a thin yellow stripe down the side of his neck. Blackbirds do not make nests, but they do have territory. Their territories overlap each other. Male birds fight over females.

American Robins are found throughout most of the United States, and they are very common in Illinois. They eat insects and fruit, and they frequently visit feeders.

American Robins are omnivores, meaning they eat both plant and animal matter. Their diet includes worms, snails, beetles, crickets, ants, spiders, berries, fruits, seeds, flowers, and more.

Robins are well known for their ability to learn songs that other birds sing. When they start learning a new song, they repeat it until they get it right.

Then they pass along this knowledge to others. This helps robins survive because they can now join other groups of singers who already know how to make the best use of the environment.

Common Grackle

Common Grackle

Common grackles are large, aggressive birds that are a pain to feed. Their athleticism makes them hard to deter from your backyard feeding station.

They also whistle, squeak, and groan when they want something. You may need to add some noisemakers or other deterrents to keep them out of your yard.

Baltimore Oriole

Baltimore Oriole

Blackbirds are birds who love to eat worms, bugs, grubs, and other insects. Their favorite foods include corn, wheat, and oats. They make beautiful nests out of sticks and grasses.

They also like to build houses near the water. Blackbirds are very social birds, and they usually hang around together.

Baltimore Orioles are sweet-tasting birds that eat bugs. They are easy to attract because they love sugary foods. Their songs are short and simple, and they whistle when defending their territories. Female Orioles are smaller than male Orioles.

Brewers Blackbird

Brewers Blackbird

Brewer’s blackbird is a species of wren found in North America. It is a medium-sized bird with a short, thick bill. Their plumage is dark brown with some light markings.

They have long tails and wings. They are known for being very vocal. This bird is commonly seen around farms and gardens. They are often seen in large groups during migration.

Brewer’s blackbirds are found in many types of habitats, including marshes, forests, and meadows. They are social birds that often form large flocks during migration. Their numbers decrease after the breeding season ends. 

Yellow-Headed Blackbird

Yellow-Headed Blackbird

Males are unmistakable and feature bright yellow heads and breasts that contrast against a black body. Their distinctive white wing patches make them easy to identify.

Females are brown overall. They are distinguishable from other blackbird species because they have dull yellow plumage on the chest, face, and neck.

During the breeding season, look out for Yellow-headed blackbirds in wetlands. Female Yellow-headed Blackbirds build nests in reeds over the water, and male Yellow-headed Blackbirds aggressively defend their territories from rival males and predators.

The larger yellow-headed blackbird usually dominates the smaller red-winged blackbird. They both prefer similar habitats such as grasslands, cornfields, and wheat fields.

The larger blackbird will sing from a perch, while the smaller one sings from low vegetation. Both birds share the same calls, but the larger one has more varied songs.

Rusty Blackbird

Rusty Blackbird

Rusty blackbirds are medium-sized birds with slightly curved bills. Breeding male birds are completely glossy black. Non-breeding males are a duller grayish black but with rusty-red edging.

Females are usually rusty colored or brown. These blackbirds live in wet forests, marshes, and pond edges. Their favorite habitat is near water. When they’re not breeding season, they prefer to stay away from humans.

Blackbirds are medium-sized birds with long tails. Males are completely glossy black. Females are either rusty-colored or brownish. Look for a pale brown that contrasts against the black feathering around their eyes.

These birds prefer wet forested areas. Hunting and draining wetlands have caused them to lose habitat. A rusty blackbird has a creaky song that is a few notes short. 

Final Thoughts

You can use this information to help you learn about different birds. You may even be able to find your own bird!

There are so many species of blackbirds in Illinois alone that we hope you have found your favorite in this list thus far!