Differences Between Male and Female


This week’s photo, taken April 17, 2013 at Union Bay Natural Area (Montlake Fill) in Seattle, WA, features a female RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD clinging to a cattail.

Differences between male and female Red-winged Blackbirds are striking. Most people in North America are probably familiar with the male, with its fiery red shoulder patches that strongly contrast with its black body. But if you’re faced with a female Red-winged Blackbird for the first time, you might say, “What the heck is that?” With its brown color and extensive streaking, a female red-wing may remind you more of a sparrow than a blackbird.

One thing is certain: a male Red-winged Blackbird knows a female Red-winged Blackbird when it sees one.


About Joe Sweeney

I photograph birds to share the beauty and wonder I find in nature.
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5 Responses to Differences Between Male and Female

  1. Alex Khoo says:

    What a nice capture of the bird!

  2. Brenda Peterson says:

    You are so funny! Thank you!

  3. Scott Dean says:

    That’s funny Joe because we get swarmed with RWBlackbird in the early spring. Males everywhere. We were out a couple weeks ago and I said exactly that to Michelle, “What the heck is that?” before I realized it was a female. Nice shot.

  4. Jan Kizziar says:

    Cindy sent me your blog – love it!

  5. Connie Saunders says:

    Joe, I’ve been stumped more than once trying to identify a female Red-winged Blackbird. Thanks for the clear image of one.

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