Species of Special Concern

Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus

Yellow-headed Blackbird

Yellow-headed Blackbird is identified by its very distinct bright yellow head and breast. The species occurs in prairie wetlands and emergent wetlands throughout much of the western United States and Mexico. Yellow-headed Blackbirds nest and roost locally in deep-water tule or cattail marshes in the Central Valley. They form large flocks and forage in agricultural fields where they feed on rice and weed seeds during fall and winter and on a variety of insects during summer (Twedt and Crawford 1995).

A few join large flocks of other blackbird species in flooded and disked rice fields (Jones and Stokes file data). While ricelands do not provide nesting habitat for this species, they do provide important summer and winter foraging habitat, particularly in the Sacramento Valley.

Yellow-headed Blackbird is on the California Bird Species of Special Concern Priority 3 list (Jaramillo 2008), primarily because of habitat loss through the draining of wetlands.

Yellow-headed Blackbird: Leslie Morris

Yellow-headed Blackbird
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