Family New World Blackbirds (Icteridae)

Least Concern

Red-breasted Blackbird (Leistes militaris)


French: Sturnelle militaire German: Rotbruststärling Spanish: Loica pechirroja
Other common names: Red-breasted Meadowlark

E[mberiza]. militaris


, 1758,



Sometimes considered conspecific with L. superciliaris, but ranges overlap locally in SE Peru (E Madre de Dios), NE Bolivia (Pando and N Beni) and NE Brazil (mainly Maranhão and Tocantins) with no evidence of interbreeding, and no intermediates or hybrids between them have been reported; range overlap sometimes attributed to seasonal N movements by L. superciliaris, but verification required. Monotypic.


SE Nicaragua S to Colombia, Venezuela, Trinidad, the Guianas, Amazonian Brazil (Roraima; Acre and Rondônia E to Amapá, Pará, N Tocantins and Maranhão), NW & NE Ecuador, Peru (Loreto; Madre de Dios), and NE Bolivia (Pando, Beni).

Descriptive notes

Male average 19 cm and 53 g; female average 18 cm and 46·1 g. Male is mostly blackish on head and upperparts; chin, throat and breast bright crimson-red, marginal and... read more


Male song, from perch or in aerial display, varies among populations, consists of 1–5 brief... read more


Savanna and lush grassland, often near water; also agricultural land, including rice fields. In... read more

Food and feeding

Insects and other arthropods, also seeds (including rice), rarely fruit. Forages on or near ground. Sociable; commonly in flocks of up to c... read more


Season May–Aug in Costa Rica, Mar–Dec in Trinidad, Jan–Nov in Suriname, and Jan–Apr in Colombian lowlands (Jun at... read more


Resident. Some seasonal movements reported in areas with strong dry season (e.g. llanos in... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Rather common. Extending its range N as a result of deforestation; invaded Costa Rica in 1970s, and recently reported in Nicaragua. Also expanding... read more

Recommended citation

Fraga, R. (2019). Red-breasted Blackbird (Leistes militaris). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 16 December 2019).