7 Surprising Facts About Red-Winged Blackbirds

Get to know these scarlet-spotted fliers.

1. Females often lay three or four pale blue-green eggs, accented with black, brown and purple markings.

2. The species, one of the most abundant in all of North America, has experienced a decrease in population over the past 40 years.

3. Male red-winged blackbirds can’t commit. They juggle as many as 15 female mates.

4. There are two reasons males flash their scarlet field marks, hunch their shoulders forward, and spread their tails: to mark their territory or to impress a mate.

5. Red-winged blackbirds leave the nest 11 to 14 days after birth.

6. True snowbirds, red-winged blackbirds travel as many as 800 miles south for the winter.

7. Carolus Linneaus, a Swedish scientist, gave the red-wing its scientific name, Agelaius phoenicus, in 1766. The name comes from the Greek words for flocking and red.