Family New World Blackbirds (Icteridae)

Least Concern

Red-shouldered Blackbird (Agelaius assimilis)


French: Carouge de Cuba German: Rotschulterstärling Spanish: Sargento cubano

Agelaius assimilis


, 1850,



Formerly treated as conspecific with A. phoeniceus, but the two differ markedly in sexual dimorphism, in mating and nesting behaviour and in size; molecular data support treatment as separate species. Birds from I of Pines formerly separated as a geographical race, subniger, but description was based on immature specimens. Monotypic.


W & C Cuba, including I of Pines.

Descriptive notes

Male 22 cm, 46–54 g, female 20 cm, 36–43 g. Male is black with slight bluish gloss; lesser upperwing-coverts red, median coverts yellow-buff; iris dark brown;... read more


Song described as a repeated rather shrill creaking “o-wi-hiiii”, similar to that of A.... read more


Breeds in swamps and marshes, generally in sites with cat-tails (Typha), bulrushes (... read more

Food and feeding

Insects and other arthropods, small vertebrates, fruits and seeds; also discarded food scraps. Forages mostly on ground. Forms flocks,... read more


Season Apr/May–Aug. Monogamous. Territorial, territories c. 700–900 m² in extent. Nest built by female, cup-shaped, made from dry grass,... read more


Apparently resident.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Locally common. Has restricted and fragmented distribution. Very numerous at Ciénaga de Zapata. Recently reported from region of Ciego de Ávila, in... read more

Recommended citation

Fraga, R. (2020). Red-shouldered Blackbird (Agelaius assimilis). 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 25 January 2020).