rusty blackbird, credit: Syd Phillips CC BY-NC 2.0

Special Concern Nationally


• Medium-sized bird with pale yellow eyes; slightly curved black bill
• During breeding season, male’s plumage turns black with green iridescence on body and violet iridescence on neck and head; female’s plumage is greyish brown with no iridescence
• In autumn, plumage of both sexes turns rusty hue, hence the name


• Found in all provinces and territories, which represents 70 percent of North American breeding range
• Breeds across northern Ontario


• Loss of habitat and degradation
• Bird control programs for agriculture in the United States


• Not protected under the Species at Risk Act, 2002


The total population of rusty blackbird has declined by an estimated 85 percent since the 1960s.