Red-winged Blackbird
(Agelaius phoeniceus)


Picture of bird
© Chuck Kling
For additional photos and vocalizations, visit Dendroica. (Link opens in a new window.)

The Red-winged Blackbird is one of North America's most abundant birds. It inhabits marshes and upland habitats in Canada from the east to the west coast and from the border up to the northern tree line. Breeding Bird Survey results indicate that the population of Red-winged Blackbirds in Canada has fluctuated over time but, overall, is similar to that in the 1970s.


Main designations for the species
DesignationStatusDateSubspecies, population
IUCN (Global)Least concern2018 
Wild Species (Canada)Secure2015 

Population status

Geographic area or populationPopulation change relative to ~1970ReliabilityStatus in relation to goal
CanadaLittle ChangeHighAt an Acceptable Level

Population estimate

Geographic area or populationPopulation estimate
Canada5,000,000 - 50,000,000 adults

Distribution maps


Migration strategy, occurrence

Short-distance migrant

Responsibility for conservation

Geographic areaResponsibility based on % of global population

General nesting period in Canada

Nesting period starts between late April and early June and ends between late June and late July, depending on the region. Before or after this period, the probability of an active nest is lower.

Conservation and management

Often considered a pest of croplands and a safety threat to the airline industry, this and other members of the Icteriidae family have been the target of control programs, which now constitute one of the major sources of mortality for the species (Yasukawa and Searcy 1995). Population declines are also likely influenced by lower precipitation, conversion of wetland breeding habitat to tilled land, urbanization, and grassland conversion (Yasukawa and Searcy 1995, Forcey et al. 2011, Forcey et al. 2015).


Bird conservation region strategies

Environment and Climate Change Canada and partners have developed Bird Conservation Region Strategies in each of Canada’s Bird Conservation Regions (BCRs). In these strategies, selected species are identified as priorities for one or more of the following reasons:

  • conservation concerns (i.e., species vulnerable due to population size, distribution, population trend, abundance, or threats)
  • stewardship responsibilities (i.e., species that typify the regional avifauna or have a large proportion of their range or population in the sub-region)
  • management concerns (i.e., species that require ongoing management because of their socio-economic importance as game species, or because of their impacts on other species or habitats)
  • other concerns (i.e., species deemed a priority by regional experts for other reasons than those listed above or because they are listed as species at risk or concern at the provincial level)

Select any of the sub-regions below to view the BCR strategy for additional details.

BCRs, marine biogeographic units, and sub-regions in which the species is listed as a priority
RegionSub-region and priority type