|Conservation status||Still widespread and common, but surveys show declines in recent decades. In the mid 20th century, Dutch elm disease killed many of the American elms that had been favorite nesting trees for this species in the past.|
|Family||Blackbirds and Orioles|
|Habitat||Open woods, riverside groves, elms, shade trees. Breeds in deciduous or mixed woodland, generally in open woods or edges rather than interior of dense forest. May be common in trees in towns. Often favors elms. Winters mostly in the tropics around forest edge and semi-open country.|
Forages by searching for insects among foliage of trees and shrubs. Sometimes flies out to catch insects in midair. Visits flowers for nectar, and will come to sugar-water feeders; also will come to pieces of fruit put out at feeders.
4-5, sometimes 3-6. Bluish white to pale gray, with brown and black markings concentrated at larger end. Incubation is by female, about 12-14 days. Young: Both parents feed the nestlings. Young leave nest about 12-14 days after hatching.
Both parents feed the nestlings. Young leave nest about 12-14 days after hatching.
Insects, berries, nectar. In summer feeds mostly on insects, especially caterpillars, including hairy types avoided by many birds; also eats beetles, grasshoppers, wasps, bugs, and others, plus spiders and snails. Eats many berries and sometimes cultivated fruit. Feeds on nectar and will take sugar-water.
Male sings to defend nesting territory. In courtship, male faces female and stretches upright, then bows deeply with tail spread and wings partly open. Nest site is in tall deciduous tree, placed near end of slender drooping branch, usually 20-30' above the ground but can be 6-60' up or higher. Nest (built by female, sometimes with help from male) is a hanging pouch, with its rim firmly attached to a branch. Nest is tightly woven of plant fibers, strips of bark, grapevines, grass, yarn, string, Spanish moss, lined with fine grass, plant down, hair.
Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from
Lives of North American Birds
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Migrates in flocks. Fall migration begins early, with many birds departing in July and August.
- All Seasons - Common
- All Seasons - Uncommon
- Breeding - Common
- Breeding - Uncommon
- Winter - Common
- Winter - Uncommon
- Migration - Common
- Migration - Uncommon
See a fully interactive migration map for this species on the Bird Migration Explorer.Learn more
Songs and CallsClear and flute-like whistled single or double notes in short, distinct phrases with much individual variation.
Learn more about this sound collection.