Family New World Blackbirds (Icteridae)

Least Concern

Scarlet-headed Blackbird (Amblyramphus holosericeus)


French: Carouge à tête rouge German: Rotkopfstärling Spanish: Federal

Xanthornus (holosericeus

) Scopoli

, 1786,

Panay island, Philippines; error = the Paraná River Delta, Argentina




NE Bolivia (Beni and Santa Cruz), most of Paraguay, and S Brazil (S from S Mato Grosso, São Paulo and Santa Catarina) S to NW & E Argentina (N Salta, Córdoba, and E Chaco S to Buenos Aires) and Uruguay.

Descriptive notes

Male average 25 cm, 86 g; female average 22·5 cm, 75 g. Distinctive red-and-black icterid with sharply pointed, chisel-shaped bill, which sometimes appears slightly upturned... read more


Song (in sexual display) variable, may include rattles or a nasal buzz. Characteristic contact call... read more


Tropical to warm-temperate marshes with abundant, tall herbaceous vegetation, particularly with... read more

Food and feeding

Diet mostly insects, and reported also as eating small frogs; may feed on cultivated maize (Zea mays) or sorghum seeds in non-... read more


Season Oct–Dec in C Argentina, extending to Feb/Mar in N Argentina. Solitary nester. Apparently monogamous and strongly territorial.... read more


Apparently resident in permanent wetlands, such as Esteros del Iberá, in Corrientes (Argentina).... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Categorized as “vulnerable” in Argentina. Uncommon to locally fairly common. As breeding territories large, this icterid does not occur at high... read more

Recommended citation

Fraga, R. (2020). Scarlet-headed Blackbird (Amblyramphus holosericeus). 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 28 January 2020).