Black Birds and Jays

Primary Reference Resources:

"Audubon Field Guide to the Mid-Atlantic States" by Peter Alden and Brian Cassie

Patuxent Bird Identification InfoCenter

Bird Watcher's Digest

Howard County Bird Club


Common Grackle - Purple Race (Quiscalus quiscula): Originally a mid-west bird but has migrated eastward. Forms large flocks in the winter. Omnivorous. Occasionally eats eggs and hatchlings as well as small lizards and snakes. The purple race is more common in the coatal Mid-Atlantic states south to FL.  Photo by Anita Mueller.

Common Grackle - Bronze race. Deep bronze body and wings. More common from New England south to the western Appalachians then west to the Rockies. Photo by Anita Mueller.

Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater): In the Blackbird family. Female is uniformly dull gray/brown. A parasitic bird causing a decrease in songbird populations. Females lay a single egg in the nest of a songbird. The young cowbird will push the egg or hatchling songbirds out. Raised by the nesting songbirds. Photos by Anita Mueller.

European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris): Introduced from England by early settlers. Considered a nuisance. Displaces sparrows and Bluebirds from their nesting areas. Summer males are glossy black with a green sheen. Females duller. Winter coat dull black with white flecks as in this photo. Photo by Anita Mueller.

Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus): A swamp/pond bird. Nests among the cat tails and rushes. Female has a drab starling pattern with white line above the eye. Male's flight reveals yellow and red epaulets on the shoulders. Photo by Anita Mueller.



Fish Crow (Corvus ossifragus) - Found in coastal areas and along rivers From New York to VA. Location: Cape Henlopen SP, DE. Photo by Ken Clark.

America Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos): Substantially larger than the above Fish Crow. Photo by Anita Mueller.

Blue Jay (Cyancitta cristata): Very colorful. Lives in the region through out the seasons. Call is harsh but trumpets uniquely at times. Photo by Anita Mueller.

Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula): Maryland's state bird. The National Audubon Society places it in the blackbird family. Builds hanging stocking nests. Usually stays in the tree canopy. Hardy ever seen on the ground. Photo by Anita Mueller.


Contact Us  F&F Home  Main Home