blackbird

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blackbird,

common name in North America of a perching bird allied to the bobolink, the meadow lark, the oriole, and the grackle and belonging to the family Icteridae. The European blackbird, Turdus merula, is a thrush. The blackbird is possibly the most numerous N America land bird. The red-winged blackbird of E North America is a familiar sight, its scarlet shoulder patches conspicuous among the tall grasses of the marshes and wet meadows where it nests. It eats grain, insects, and weed seeds. Another common species is the yellow-headed blackbird, Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus. Except during the breeding season, blackbirds usually travel in flocks. The yellow-headed, the tricolored red-winged, and brewer blackbirds are found in the West. The rusty blackbird, glossy blue-black in summer when the brown edging of its winter feathers has worn off, winters in the United States. Many members of the family are polygamous, although the incidence of polygamous behavior varies from population to population. For example, in the brewer blackbird, the male becomes polygamous only when there are more females than males; when the balance is even, monogamy is the rule. The female blackbird usually builds the nest, which consists of a cup-shaped structure made of grasses. Flocks of blackbirds may be as large as 5 million birds, and they often do serious crop damage when foraging for food. However, the birds are invaluable because of the insects they consume. Blackbirds are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Passeriformes, family Icteridae.

blackbird

[′blak‚bərd]
(vertebrate zoology)
Any bird species in the family Icteridae, of which the males are predominantly or totally black.

blackbird

1. a common European thrush, Turdus merula, in which the male has a black plumage and yellow bill and the female is brown
2. any of various American orioles having a dark plumage, esp any of the genus Agelaius
3. History a person, esp a South Sea Islander, who was kidnapped and sold as a slave, esp in Australia
References in periodicals archive ?
The missionaries, to their credit, fought blackbirding as best they could.
Diverse interpretations of blackbirding attach varied significance to the extent of kidnapping, coercion or voluntary participation (Howe 1984).
From 1872 to the end of the nineteenth century, blackbirding was replaced by legal recruitment.
Pragmatism, a good old Western trait, and so too you saw the wisdom of changed ways--and went from blackbirding to the logging business.
One former MEF man I spoke to on Malaita talked about RAMSI as the second coming of the Australians, returned to take them away again as they had done during the blackbirding era (interview with KA).
For a very long time now, the main way in which people from the densely-populated island of Malaita have been able to access cash income has been by selling their labour, first during the blackbirding era, then on the copra plantations of the British Protectorate period and, since the Second World War, in Honiara and on the nearby agricultural developments on north Guadalcanal (and, from 1997 until its closure during the conflict, at Gold Ridge mine to the east of Honiara).
During the mid-to-late nineteenth century the Sia Raga population came under escalating stress through a combined process of severe depletion by blackbirding, introduced diseases, and an escalation of local fighting fuelled by introduced military technology.
There is no material culture explicitly connected to the period of blackbirding and the sandalwood trade, colonial structures of administration under British and French rule, or struggles for independence, despite the role of the VCC as an educational resource for ni-Vanuatu schoolchildren.