[CT Birds] Rusty Blackbird in breeding/alternate plumage

Joe Zygala shilohdad01 at gmail.com
Sun Dec 29 14:24:46 EST 2013

I just had what must be a breeding-plumaged male Rusty Blackbird under my feeders. It was mixed in with a bunch of Brown-headed Cowbirds. It was an inch or two longer than the cowbirds, far too small for a Common Grackle. The plumage was dark and somewhat glossy. The tail was flat, not keel-shaped. The eye was very pale. Flock too skittish to get pictures.

Is this too early for a Rusty to be in full alternate plumage? Sibley states Jan-Aug for breeding plumage, Aug-Mar for basic/non-breeding plumage, so there could be overlap. The only other time I have had Rusties in winter, they were all in the rusty basic plumage. What has been the experience of others on this list?

Joe Zygala
South Salem, NY (a.k.a., West Ridgefield)

Sent from my iPad

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