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.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/

blackbird

[′blak‚bərd]
(vertebrate zoology)
Any bird species in the family Icteridae, of which the males are predominantly or totally black.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
Differences in the timing of reproduction between urban and forest European blackbirds (Turdus merula): result of phenotypic flexibility or genetic differences?
Seasonal variation of clutch size in the European blackbird Turdus merula: a new ultimate explanation.
Age structure and mortality of the Czechoslovakian populations of Turdus merula L.
1998: Diurnal and seasonal mass variation in blackbirds Turdus merula: consequences for mass-dependent predation risk.--Journal of Animal Ecology 67:78-90.
Feeding strategies and dispersal of territorial passerines: a comparative study of the blackbird Turdus merula and the greenfinch Carduelis chloris.
19.0 16.1 16.1 36.8 71.9 24.3 Apodemus flavicollis 42.9 37.4 20.2 36.8 65.6 25.2 Myodes glareolus 14.3 15.8 19.7 5.4 14.6 23.5 Garrulus glandarius 14.3 29.3 22.0 NA NA NA Turdus merula 4.8 14.3 8.0 10.5 14.3 3.9 Columba palumbus 4.8 14.3 14.0 NA NA NA Alectoris rufa NA NA NA 10.5 11.1 23.1
The eight most common forest bird species were Levaillant's green woodpecker Picus vaillantii (26 pairs), European Robin Erithacus rubecula (41 pairs), Common Blackbird Turdus merula (50.5 pairs), Great Tit Parus major (76 pairs), (Ultramarine) Blue Tit Parus caeruleus (ultramarinus) (29.5 pairs), Short-toed Tree creeper Certhia brachydactyla (32 pairs), Eurasian Jay Garrulus glandarius (21 pairs), and Common Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs (43.5 pairs).
captured Intensity * (%) Common blackbird 17/514 (3.3) 6.8 (Turdus merula) Song thrush 2/238 (0.8) 1 (T.
Nestling weight and juvenile survival in the Blackbird Turdus merula. Journal of Animal Ecology 60:335-351.
To the Editor: Usutu virus (USUV), a member of the Japanese encephalitis virus antigenic group, was first detected in 1959 in mosquitoes in South Africa (1), and it emerged in 1996 in blackbirds (Turdus merula) in Italy (2).
Fluctuations and density of suburban populations of the Blackbird Turdus merula. Ornis Scandinavica 8:139-144.