Western Meadowlark

All Black Birds in California with Pictures

Our comprehensive data on all black birds in California has been verified by a trained Ornithologist and is backed up with vivid images. This information was gathered exclusively from trustworthy sources to ensure accuracy.

Red winged Blackbird

Red-winged Blackbird

(Agelaius phoeniceus) is a medium-sized passerine bird found commonly in California. It has glossy black plumage, with bright red and yellow accents on its wings. Its diet includes insects, grains, berries, and other fruits. On average it ranges from 7 to 9 inches in length and weighs from 1 to 2 ounces.

The Red winged Blackbirds are one of the most widespread birds in North America and can be found in a variety of habitats, including wetlands, grasslands, open fields, pastures, and agricultural areas. They are often seen perched on fences or poles along roadsides. Their behavior is characterized by loud vocalizations and territorial displays.

They form large flocks to find food and are often seen in mixed species groups. This bird is a strong migrant, leaving the northern parts of its range in winter for more southern climates. This species is common in California and can be seen year-round.

Female red winged blackbirds are brownish-gray, with dark streaks and no red or yellow accents. Immature birds are similar to females but have blackish markings on their wings.

Male red winged blackbirds are all black with bright red and yellow accents on their wings. Immature males have brown heads and faint wing panels, but the bright colors of the adult male will become visible in a year or two.

European Starling

European Starling

(Sturnus vulgaris) is a black bird that lives in California. It has distinctive iridescent feathers and yellow-tipped mandibles. It measures about 20 cm (8 inches) from head to tail and weighs between 60–90 grams (2.1–3.2 oz).

European Starlings are omnivorous, eating a variety of fruits, seeds, small invertebrates and insects. They tend to feed on the ground or in shallow water for aquatic prey.

The European Starling can be found in open fields, grasslands, scrubland and woodlands throughout California. It is especially abundant near farmlands and urban areas where food is plentiful.

The European Starling is a social bird that forms large flocks. They are known to be quite noisy, often producing a variety of calls and songs. In winter they roost in large communal sites numbering into the thousands. During the nesting season, it builds nests in cavities such as tree hollows or old buildings. It is also known to take over the nests of other birds.

European Starlings are also considered invasive in California, where their numbers have increased rapidly since they were first introduced in the late 1800s. They can be detrimental to native species as they compete for resources and nesting sites. To combat this problem, some control measures have been put into place, such as artificial nest boxes which aim to reduce the pressure on natural nesting sites.

Western Meadowlark

Western Meadowlark

(Sturnella neglecta) is a black bird found in California. It has distinctive yellow patches and white streaks on its wings. Its tail is pointed, and it also has a long bill with a sharp point. Meadowlarks are typically around 8-11 inches in length, with males being slightly larger than females.

Meadowlarks feed on insects and small invertebrates, as well as grains and fruits. They typically forage on the ground and can occasionally be seen perching in trees.

Western Meadowlarks are found in open grasslands and meadows, especially those with plenty of exposed soil. They nest in hollows near the ground or close to shrubs and trees.

When alarmed, Western Meadowlark will take flight to escape danger. They are also known for their distinctive song which is a series of warbles and whistles that can be heard from some distance away.

Western Meadowlarks are monogamous birds that usually mate in the winter. The female builds the nest and incubates the eggs, while both parents feed the young birds. These birds are usually found in flocks foraging together during winter.

Western Meadowlark range map

Brown-headed Cowbirds

Brown-headed Cowbird

(Molothrus after) are medium-sized black birds native to North America, including California. They have a brownish head (hence the name) and glossy iridescent feathers with white streaks on their wings and tail. The average size of a Brown-headed Cowbird is 7-9 inches in length and 1.2-2 ounces in weight.

Brown-headed Cowbirds feed mainly on insects, seeds, grain and berries. They can often be found scavenging in fields or visiting backyard bird feeders. During the winter months they may join flocks of other species in search of food.

The Brown-headed Cowbird can be found in a variety of habitats including grasslands, shrublands, woodlands and agricultural areas. They are most common in prairies and during the breeding season they can be found across most of the western United States.

Brown-headed Cowbirds are sociable birds that often feed or roost in small flocks of up to 20 individuals. During the breeding season, males will court females with elaborate displays of song and flight. The female usually selects her own mate and builds a cup-like nest on the ground or in a low-lying bush. Nesting typically occurs from March through August.

Brewer’s Blackbird

Brewer's Blackbird

(Euphagus cyanocephalus) is a species of blackbird found in western North America. It is easily identified by its glossy black plumage, yellow eyes, and long thin beak. Brewer’s Blackbird mainly feeds on insects, seeds and grains. They vary in size from 18-22 cm (7-9 inches) with a wingspan of 35-41 cm (14-16 inches).

Brewer’s Blackbirds are found in a variety of habitats, including grasslands, fields and wetlands. They tend to congregate in large flocks during migration and when wintering. In the summer they form small groups that hunt for food together.

Brewer’s Blackbirds are quite social, frequently engaging in courtship displays, vocalizations, and group activities. They will also imitate the calls of other species of birds. Some population is permanent while others migrate south to winter in Central America or even as far away as Mexico.

Brewer's Blackbird range map

Yellow-headed Blackbird

Yellow-headed Blackbird

(Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus) is a species of passerine bird found in western North America from California to central Mexico. It grows up to 8 inches long and has a wingspan of 15-17 inches. Males are black with yellow heads, necks, and breasts. Females are brownish with paler heads and necks.

These birds inhabit open areas such as marshes, ponds, lakes, or rivers. They are generally found in agricultural lands and wetlands. The yellow-headed blackbirds feed on insects, small fish, crustaceans, and seeds. They often forage in flocks during winter months. The species is a cavity nester and builds large cup-shaped nests in trees and shrubs. They are socially active, and often form loose flocks or join other species of blackbirds to feed.

The yellow-headed blackbird is a common resident in California, where it breeds mostly between March and June. It is a vocal species and can be heard making loud raspy calls. The species is also known for its aggressive behavior and will often drive other birds away from its breeding sites. In California, the yellow-headed blackbird is a protected bird and it is illegal to hunt or capture them.

Yellow-headed Blackbird range map

Rusty Blackbird

Rusty Blackbird

(Euphagus carolinus) is a small passerine bird, native to North America. It has a glossy black head and upper body with rusty-brown wings and tail. Its bill is short and pointed, its eyes are dark, and its legs and feet are grayish-black.

The Rusty Blackbird feeds mainly on insects, including beetles, flies and caterpillars that it finds on the ground. It also eats fruit and grain, especially in winter when insect populations are lower.

In terms of size, the Rusty Blackbird is around 7-8 inches long with a wingspan of 13 to 15 inches.

The Rusty Blackbird’s natural habitat is in wetlands, bogs, and other wetland locations. It is especially common in open woodlands near streams and lakes, as well as on agricultural lands.

The Rusty Blackbird is a social bird that typically gathers in large flocks to forage and migrate. During winter, it can be found in mixed-species flocks with other blackbird species. During the breeding season, it can be found in small isolated family groups.

The Rusty Blackbird is a vocal bird that makes a variety of chirping, rattling, and creaking sounds. It also performs elaborate courtship displays during mating season that involve singing, bowing, and fluttering its wings.

Rusty Blackbird range map

Orchard Oriole

Orchard Oriole

(Icterus spurius) is a small black bird that can be found in western and central North America, including California. It is approximately 7 inches (18 cm) in length and has a wingspan of 10-12 inches (25-30cm).

The head, nape, breast and back are black with a yellow patch on its shoulders and yellow under its wings. The Orchard Oriole is a granivore, meaning it mostly eats seeds from grasses, grains, fruits, insects and nectar. It can often be found in open woodlands, edges of forests, orchards and gardens. During the breeding season they are very active and sing a warbling song.

They build cup shaped nests in trees or shrubs, and may even use man-made structures like gutters. Orchard Orioles are socially monogamous, meaning they form pairs that stay together for only one season. During the winter months, these birds migrate to Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean Islands.

Tricolored Blackbird

Tricolored Blackbird

(Agelaius tricolor) is found in California and is the only member of its genus in North America. It has distinct characteristics, including a long pointed bill, triangular shape head, and black plumage with white patches on its wings. They measure between 8-10 inches in length and weigh around 1/2-1 ounce.

Tricolored Blackbirds typically feed on insects, grass seeds and grains. They are found in open grassy areas with sparse tree cover, such as agricultural fields and marshlands. These birds form large colonies during the breeding season to defend their nests from predators. During the winter months they disperse into smaller flocks to forage for food.

Tricolored Blackbirds are a species of conservation concern in California due to their declining population. Conservation efforts have been made to protect existing colonies and provide suitable habitat for nesting. These include providing safe areas with adequate food sources and monitoring populations to ensure they are stable.

With the proper protection, Tricolored Blackbirds can continue to thrive in California.

Tricolored Blackbird range map

Hooded Oriole

Hooded Oriole

(Icterus cucullatus) is a black bird native to California. It has a wingspan of 8-10 inches and bright yellow, orange, and white feathers. The males have an eye-catching hood while the females are more plain with no obvious hood markings. They inhabit open woodlands, agricultural areas, residential neighborhoods, and riparian corridors, and they feed on insects, nectar, fruits, and berries.

Hooded Orioles are active during the day and can sometimes be seen perched on an exposed branch or cable line singing their loud whistles. They often congregate in small flocks of up to 30 birds while searching for food. Breeding pairs can be seen during the spring and summer months constructing woven nests hung from tall tree branches. They lay 2-4 eggs per clutch, and the young hatch after 12-14 days. The chicks fledge 17-18 days after hatching.

Hooded Oriole range map

Scott’s Oriole

Scott's Oriole

(Icterus parisorum) is a medium-sized black bird, found primarily in California and Mexico. Its distinctive yellow shoulder patches are an identifying feature, as well as a white throat patch. Diet wise, this species predominantly eats insects but will occasionally feed on berries and fruits. On average, the oriole measures 16 cm (6.3 inches) long and its wingspan is approximately 33 cm (13 inches).

The Scott’s Oriole can be found in a variety of habitats such as desert scrub, chaparral, riparian woodlands and oak woodland. They are frequently seen gathering in small flocks to feed on insects. In terms of behavior, these birds are known to be quite active and often fly around in search of food.

They also have an interesting song that is made up of many short whistles and trills. This species is usually seen foraging in the canopy of trees, but may occasionally come down to lower levels to feed on insects from the ground. All in all, Scott’s Oriole is an impressive and unique species of black bird that can be found in California.

Scott's Oriole range map

Bullock’s Oriole

Bullock's Oriole

(Icterus bullockii) is a medium-sized black bird found in the western United States, primarily in California. It has distinctive white wing bars and a short crest on its head, with yellow or orange feathers around the face and at the base of the bill. Males are larger than females and have brighter plumage.

Bullock’s Orioles prefer open woodlands and savannas, as well as riparian corridors, and are commonly seen in urban parks and gardens. They feed primarily on fruits and insects, including caterpillars, beetles, aphids, ants, grasshoppers and moths. During the breeding season they may also consume nectar. They may occasionally supplement their diet with frogs, lizards and small birds.

Bullock’s Orioles are active during the day, often gathering in flocks to forage for food. They may be seen perched atop tall trees or branches, and also often seen flying low over open ground. During courtship displays males will sing from high perches and perform breathtaking aerial displays. The nests of Bullock’s Orioles are usually cup-shaped, made from plant fibers and lined with feathers or animal hair, and are fastened firmly to a branch of a tree or shrub.

Bullock's Oriole range map

Common Grackle

Common Grackle

(Quiscalus quiscula) is a black bird found in California and other parts of the United States. It has an iridescent green head, yellow eyes, and a long tail with white edges. Its diet consists mainly of insects, grains, nuts, fruits, eggs and occasionally small vertebrates. Adults measure around 10 inches in length, with a wingspan of 14-16 inches. Common Grackles inhabit open and semiopen areas such as grasslands, agricultural fields and the sides of roads. They are known for their complex social behavior, often gathering in large flocks to feed and interact with each other. Common Grackles are also very vocal birds, making a variety of noises such as trills, clicks, whistles and purrs.

Common Grackle are one of the most recognizable birds in California and can be found year round. They are an important part of the ecological system, helping to control insect populations, spread seeds and increase plant diversity. Common Grackles can be a nuisance for farmers as they may feed on crops. However, their beautiful colors, wide range of vocalizations and social behavior make them a fascinating species to observe.

Common Grackle range map

American Crow

American Crow

(Corvus brachyrhynchos), also known as the common crow, is a bird native to California and is easily identified by its black feathers and loud cawing call. It is a medium-sized bird that can grow up to 17 inches in length and 4 ounces in weight. The American Crow primarily lives in open areas, such as grasslands and fields, but can also be found in urban areas.

The American Crow’s diet consists primarily of insects and other small invertebrates, as well as fruits, nuts, carrion, and garbage. They are also known to eat bird eggs and nestlings.

American Crows often travel in large flocks, and can be seen foraging and roosting together. They are considered to be highly social animals, often engaging in cooperative activities such as group defense against predators.

The American Crow is an omnivore that is able to thrive in a variety of habitats. It has adapted well to human presence, making it a common sight in urban areas. It is an important part of the local ecosystem, helping to control insect populations and spreading seeds.

Baltimore Oriole

Baltimore Oriole

(Icterus galbula) is a medium-sized black bird found in California, with bright orange and yellow markings. It has a long, pointed bill and a slender body that allows it to fly easily between trees. Its diet consists mainly of insects, fruit, nectar and seeds. They are typically 7 to 8 inches in length, with a wingspan of up to 11 inches. They prefer open areas where they can build their cup-shaped nests in trees, such as forests and woodlands, as well as in suburban settings.

Baltimore Orioles are active during the day and often seen perched on tree branches or flying through the air in search of food. During breeding season, males can be seen singing loudly from the tops of trees to attract mates. They are also known for their elaborate nesting displays, which involve dancing and fluffing out feathers in order to show off their bright colors. In addition, they can often be heard calling out with a variety of sounds including chirps, warbles and buzzes.

Baltimore Oriole range map

Great-tailed Grackle

Great-tailed Grackle

(Quiscalus mexicanus) is one of the most easily identifiable birds in California, with its glossy black feathers and distinctive long tail. Measuring up to 16 inches in length and weighing 3-4 ounces, this medium-sized songbird is one of the largest members of the Icteridae family.

The Great-tailed Grackle has a wide-ranging diet, including insects, fruits, grains, eggs, and small animals. They are opportunistic feeders and can often be seen scavenging for food in open fields or near urban areas.

Great-tailed Grackles inhabit a variety of habitats across California from low, brushy scrublands to higher elevation coniferous forests. They are also common in urban and agricultural areas.

The Great-tailed Grackle is gregarious, inquisitive, and active. They often gather in large flocks to nest and forage for food, and males may engage in loud song duels during the breeding season. This species is also known for its long, graceful flights and aerial acrobatics.

Great-tailed Grackle range map

Bronzed Cowbird

Bronzed Cowbird

(Molothrus aeneus) is a black-colored bird native to California. It has a short and thick bill, pale eyes, and dark brown wings that have blue highlights. The Bronzed Cowbird typically grows to around five inches in length with an average weight of only one ounce.

This species of bird prefers areas with open grasslands and savannahs, but they can also be found in agricultural areas. They feed primarily on insects and other invertebrates, as well as grains and seeds.

The Bronzed Cowbird is a highly social bird that travels in small groups. During the breeding season, they will form large flocks that migrate to their wintering grounds.

The Bronzed Cowbird is a cavity nester, meaning it lays eggs in holes or crevices of trees and other structures. It will also re-use the same nest multiple times throughout its lifetime.

Bronzed Cowbird range map

Eastern Meadowlark

Eastern Meadowlark

(Sturnella manga) is a black bird found in California. It has distinctive yellow markings on its throat and breast and a white tail with two dark bars. Its beak is short, stout, and slightly curved. This species feeds mainly on insects, seeds, and grains. The Eastern Meadowlark ranges from 8 to 10 inches in length and has a wingspan of 13 to 15 inches.

Eastern Meadowlarks are found in open areas, such as pastures, meadows, fields, and grasslands across California. They prefer habitats which consist of short grass with bare ground for foraging. These birds are active during the day and can often be seen perching atop tall grasses and shrubs. They are also known for their loud and distinct songs which have been described as a mix of slow whistles that increase in speed before ending abruptly. These birds usually mate between March and May, producing three to six eggs per clutch.

The Eastern Meadowlark is considered a species of least concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, as its population remains stable. However, threats such as the destruction and fragmentation of their natural habitats can still affect these birds’ populations in California. Therefore, conservation efforts are needed to help protect these species and ensure their continued survival.

Eastern Meadowlark range map

What are the black birds in California called?

The black birds commonly seen in California are known as European Starlings. These birds have glossy black plumage with small white speckles, and their long slender beak is yellow-colored. They are often found in flocks of 20 to 30 birds, scavenging for food in open fields or foraging for insects on lawns. Starlings can be recognized by their distinct chirping sounds and in flight, they often look like a dark cloud. They are known to cause damage to crops, and occasionally invade homes or buildings if left unchecked. Therefore, it is important to take measures to keep European Starlings away from your property.

What are those common black birds?

Common black birds found in North America include the American Crow, Common Raven, Fish Crow, and Grackle. The American Crow is a big, black bird with a long tail and loud cawing sound. The Common Raven is also large and all-black, but it has a shorter tail and deeper croaking call. Fish Crows are smaller and have a more nasal call.

Grackles are medium-sized and have a scratchy, rattling song. These birds can be found in many different habitats such as forests, fields, grasslands, wetlands, and city parks. They often travel in large flocks to take advantage of food sources or roost together at night.

What attracts black birds to your yard?

Black birds are attracted to yards with a variety of food sources. Bird feeders filled with black oil sunflower seeds, cracked corn and suet are a surefire way to attract these birds. Additionally, native berry-producing shrubs, such as elderberry or serviceberry, provide natural food sources that will draw in hungry flocks.

Planting a variety of trees that produce seeds, nuts and fruits will bring in more birds. Lastly, providing appealing water sources such as bird baths or ponds can be an attractive feature to many species of black birds. By providing these resources you are sure to see more black birds coming and going from your yard!

Are Grackles and blackbirds the same?

No, grackles and blackbirds are not the same. Grackles are a type of large, noisy, iridescent blackbird found in much of North America. They have long tails and sharp bills. Blackbirds, on the other hand, are a family of birds that includes several species of small to medium-sized passerines found all over the world. They often have glossy black plumage, but some can also be brown or speckled.