Rusty Blackbirds

Rusty Blackbird femaleRusty Blackbirds, or “Rusties,” get their name from their fall and early winter plumage, when their dark feathers are edged with a rusty brown color.  In the spring and summer, males are a glossy black and females a silvery, slate grey.  Like Brewer’s Blackbirds and Common Grackles, adult Rusties have pale yellow eyes. Learn more Rusty Blackbird identification tips!

Both males and females sing on the breeding grounds, where their high-pitched, piercing “kerglees” can be heard echoing across northern bogs.  Nor particularly musical, this “song” has been likened to the creaking of a rusty hinge.  Rusty Blackbird calls are low “chucks,” similar to the call of Common Grackles but less husky.  During migration and on the wintering grounds, Rusties make “gurgle” or “squiggle” calls.  Listen to Rusty Blackbird songs and calls!

Check out our Rusty Blackbird Fact Sheet, a quick-start guide to the basics of the Rusty!