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Birding Colorado Springs: Icteridae

Birds commonly seen in Colorado Springs and surrounding areas.

Icteridae

New World songbirds including orioles, grackles, cowbirds, and meadowlarks.

Western Meadowlark

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Western_Meadowlark.jpg
Author: Kevin Cole. Creative Commons Attribution Generic 2.0

Info (All About Birds) Song/Call (Macaulay library) Video (YouTube)
  • Adults of both sexes have a yellow breast with a black V collar, eye stripe, and mottled brown back
  • Song is a beautiful series of liquid notes, frequently delivered from visible perches such as small trees or fences
  • Found in large open fields where it eats insects, grains and seeds

Common Grackle

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Quiscalus-quiscula-001.jpg
Author: MdfGNU Free Documentation License 1.2, no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts

Info (All About Birds) Song (Macaulay Library) Video (YouTube)
  • Smaller than American Crow; about the size of a robin but with longer tail and beak.
  • Male has glossy, iridescent plumage; female has drabber plumage
  • Vocalizations are metallic-sounding
  • Easy to confuse with Brewer’s Blackbird

Red-winged Blackbird

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Red_winged_blackbird_-_natures_pics.jpg
Author: Alan D. Wilson. Public Domain, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5

Info (All About Birds) Song (Macaulay library) Video (YouTube)
  • Male has distinctive epaulets which are displayed from exposed perches
  • Preferred habitat is cattails and other vegetation in marshy areas
  • Female looks very different from male: streaky brown all over, with a white eye stripe. Skulks in vegetation and does not show itself flashily like the male.

Bullock's Oriole

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bullock%27s_Oriole.jpg
Author: Kevin Cole. Creative Commons Attribution Generic 2.0

Info (All About Birds) Song/Call (Macaulay library) Video (YouTube)
  • Male is gorgeous orange, black and white; female is drab with pale olive/yellow and brown washing.
  • Male sings from upper tree canopy
  • Eats insects, fruit and nectar; may visit hummingbird feeders
  • Formerly thought to be one species, Northern Oriole, along with the eastern Baltimore Oriole, but now considered a separate species.

Brown-headed Cowbird

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Brown-Headed_Cowbird.jpg
Author: Alan Wilson. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

Info (All About Birds) Song (Macaulay library) Video (YouTube)
  • Male has brown head and iridescent body; female is drab brown
  • Parasitic species which lays its eggs in the nests of other birds
  • Song is liquid; female chatters

Brewer's Blackbird

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Brewer%27s_Blackbird_male_RWD4.jpg
Author: DickDaniels. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

Info (All About Birds) Song (Macaulay library) Video (YouTube)
  • Easily confused with Common Grackle: note the tail and beak which are shorter than a grackle's. Voice also differs.
  • Males are glossy iridescent black; females are dark gray-brown.
  • Well-adapted to life around humans in rural, suburban and urban areas.