Sunday, January 10, 2010

Brewer's or Rusty Blackbird???

The other day I posted about Shon Parks and my visit to the Chinese Well Riparian Area at Avimor and I posted about what I thought it was a Brewer's Blackbird, but the amount of rust color in its wings has been bugging me all weekend.  This afternoon I was able to get back out there and I found the blackbird within seconds and I was able to take some terrible photos with my Canon Powershot A590 (not a photographer's dream device).  I have strong reason to believe this is a vagrant Rusty Blackbird, probably a male in non-breeding plumage.  I'd like some expert opinions.

Here are the photos (you should be able to click and enlarge them):

1.  Pale iris
2.  Thin Bill
3.  Black mask
4.  Lighter eyebrow
5.  female Brewer's may look this light, but won't have the yellow eye.
6.  Rusty shoulders and nape
7.  Rusty tertial edges on wings - Nat-Goe field guide says Brewer's never have this

This next poor photo does show the rusty tertial edges if you zoom in.  Unfortunately none of my photos captures the great amount of rusty color on the wings.

Here are more photos just for those of you who like detective work:

The habitat is right for Rusty too...trees near bogs, wooded swamps.  I did also hear the flight call a couple of times and it was a lower "chuck".


  1. Looks more like a Rusty than a Brewers to me. But then females can be deceiving.

  2. Yes, this bird looks good for a female Rusty Blackbird, great find! The habitat is perfect, in fact much better for Rusty than any other candidate. They often give a high-pitched "squeaky door" call, you should listen for this. I don't think this species is reported from sw Idaho very often.

  3. Hello, I dont think this is either a brewers nor a rusty. I am almost positive it is a grackle. Female rusty's are more rust colored and have shorter tails than the bird in your picture. And brewers females are way more of a gray colorations, and also have amuch shorter tail than your bird.

  4. Your other posts about the blackbirds, particularly on january 12th do show a rusty. But I am confident these photos show a grackle, compare to this photo: