Family New World Blackbirds (Icteridae)


Tricolored Blackbird (Agelaius tricolor)


French: Carouge de Californie German: Dreifarbenstärling Spanish: Sargento tricolor

Icterus tricolor


, 1837,

no locality = Santa Barbara, California, USA




W USA (S Washington, Oregon, California W of Sierra Nevada, also extreme CW Nevada) and extreme NW Mexico (N Baja California).

Descriptive notes

Male average 22·3 cm, 60–79 g; female average 18·5 cm, 46–54·5 g. Male is black with slight bluish gloss, lesser upperwing-coverts crimson-... read more


Song of male is a harsh, unmusical growl, “grroowak”, which lasts 1–1·5... read more


Natural habitat probably marshes and ponds with cat-tails (Typha) and bulrush (Scirpus... read more

Food and feeding

Insects and other arthropods, and seeds (including rice and other cereals). Insects include beetles (Coleoptera), larval moths and... read more


Season Mar/Apr–Jul, starting first in foothills and latest in rice fields, also some autumnal breeding Oct–Nov; egg-laying... read more


Resident to nomadic; populations move within the species’ range in response to weather conditions... read more

Status and conservation

ENDANGERED. Restricted-range species: present in California EBA. Classified as “Highest Concern” in the USA (Red WatchList priority species for conservation).... read more

Recommended citation

Fraga, R. (2020). Tricolored Blackbird (Agelaius tricolor). 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).