Saturday, April 24, 2021

Yellow-Headed Blackbird

The yellow-headed blackbird has a very limited presence in California, but California and Arizona also have the only year-round presence in the U.S., in the San Joaquin Valley and in the lower Colorado River Valley of California and Arizona. I'd not seen one near the Salton Sea until last weekend, and saw several today, so I'm not sure if these are year-round birds in that area or if they are migrating. 
Range map from Wikipedia. Green is year-round, blue is breeding and orange is the winter range. 
The male has a bright yellow/orangish head and breast with a black conical bill, partially black face and eye, black body and black legs. I saw a number of males today on Vendel Road near the Sonny Bono Salton Sea NWR, unit 1, and saw a male this week and last week in the marshes off McDonald Road in Niland. 

Females are brown instead of black and have a much more dull and patchy yellow head and breast. I saw a female today at a marsh off McDonald Road in Niland. 

It is a beautiful bird that I think I've seen before, but just got my first poor photo last week and first good photos this week. 

1 comment:

  1. Wow, what a stunning bird. It's a little like an oriole--the contrast between the brilliantly colored head and the black plumage.