Yellow-headed Blackbirds


Good morning to all.  In my endeavors to keep coming up with photos and subjects to write about, I came across these photos.  I don’t believe I had ever posted them before, so here they are.  I jokingly commented to someone yesterday that I take requests.  So in that vein, if any of you would like to see images of any particular bird, or actually anything at all, just let me know.  I will dig through my digital files and see what I have.  If I don’t have it, it may instill in me some inspiration to go out and get it. 🙂

These photos of a Yellow-headed Blackbird (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus) were taken several months ago.  This bird is found mostly throughout the western part of the United States during warmer months.  It winters in Mexico.  The size is 9 1/2 inches, slightly larger than a Red-winged Blackbird.

Yellow-headed Blackbird

The above photo was taken at an earlier time with my Canon 40D at San Angelo State Park.  Lens was a Canon 100-400mm lens at 1/5000 sec. @ f5.6, ISO 400.  Aperture priority.

The two following photos were taken at the water treatment ponds in Eldorado, Texas.  By then I had purchased my Canon 7D.  I used it along with a Canon 500mm L lens with a 1.4 tele-converter attached.  Exposure for these two was 1/1000 sec. @ f11 with ISO 800.

Yellow-headed Blackbirds

Yellow-headed Blackbird

The first time I ever saw a Yellow-headed Blackbird was about ten years ago, long before I got caught up in birding.  It landed on the fence in my back yard.  It was several years later that I saw another.  Texas is in their migratory path, so I guess that accounts for the time between.  They are not always around in great numbers.

I hope you enjoyed these photos.  Click on either of them to see enlargements.

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30 thoughts on “Yellow-headed Blackbirds

  1. I saw some similar at our barn in early summer but their beaks were bigger and they had two different colors of yellow on their heads. I will try to send a picture. Katy

    • Yes, they are pretty neat looking. According to Stokes Field Guide to Birds of North America, they winter in Mexico, migrate through west-central Texas then summer in the western part of the United States. Thanks for commenting.

  2. Is this related to a small black bird that has yellow or orange under the wings. I have only seen them twice and the only time I see the color is when in flight. It isn’t on their bellies, or necks. They are about the size of a sparrow.

  3. Our little spring fed pond as lots of these delightful birds..in fact last week we had 5 or 6 of them come into our feeder in the back yard. They are always such a splash of color..We have snow and more on the way today, so hopefully our Yellow Headed Blackbirds have found shelter and flew a few miles south where it is warmer. As usual, your photos are fabulous, and the birds do seem to be posing for you..take care..I am out to shovel snow..

  4. This is of course a new bird for me too. I especially like the last photo – something about the water background and the leg gives it appeal. Maybe the sense of movement.

  5. Actually one of my favorites. I saw a large flock at Hornsby Bend a couple of years ago, but nothing since. Heading out to Pedernales now. Maybe I’ll get lucky!

  6. Very nice work Bob! You always have the birds posing for you. You must be charming the birds! I’m not that lucky. 🙂

  7. Wow! I have traveled about 250,000 of the roughly 270,000 square miles that is Texas and I have NEVER seen one of those! Keep ’em comin’, Bob! This one is a goodern.

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