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 classic literature ?
At length one of his warriors brought in a small child, and laying it on the ground, placed the foot of the Blackbird upon its neck.
When the general horror and dismay was at its height, the Blackbird himself was struck down with the malady.
It was the dying command of the Blackbird that his tomb should be on the summit of this hill, in which he should be interred, seated on his favorite horse, that he might overlook his ancient domain, and behold the barks of the white men as they came up the river to trade with his people.
Yet the hill of the Blackbird continues an object of veneration to the wandering savage, and a landmark to the voyager of the Missouri; and as the civilized traveller comes within sight of its spell-bound crest, the mound is pointed out to him from afar, which still incloses the grim skeletons of the Indian warrior and his horse.
Throughout the coming months the pole and other assorted highpoints will host different blackbirds celebrating the warmer weather with varied and flute-like songs from the first light of every morning.
Only five Blackbirds will be built, with each having a starting price of $225,000.
In previous times I have heard blackbirds in full voice, even before we have celebrated New Year.
IN reply to Phil Fairclough's letter in the Journal about blackbirds (Letters, September 25), may I say that I'm surprised at the lack of blackbirds in his area.
Birdsong has also increased, with thrushes and blackbirds in particular singing louder and for lengthier periods.
Blackbirds are one of the most ubiquitous birds in the garden and nearby woods.
NATURE lovers who are noticing a sudden absence of blackbirds from their gardens should not worry as it is an annual phenomenon, experts have said.
A team of Scottish scientists measured the circadian rhythms, the 24-hour cycle of biological activity, of blackbirds, who reside in the countryside and in urban areas, and found that they differed significantly.