Reproductive rate and temporal spacing of nesting of red-winged blackbirds in upland habitat

The Auk



The literature contains numerous studies on Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) reproduction. Francis (1971) summarized eight studies dealing with nesting success. These and other studies have also provided information on breeding chronology, clutch sizes, sex ratios, survival rates for eggs and nestlings, reproductive physiology, and other life history aspects of reproduction. With few exceptions, these studies have provided no data on the number of young fledged per female, per territorial male, or per unit area. This is especially true for upland nesting habitats where, at least in the midwestern United States, most Red-wings now nest (Graber and Graber 1963, Dyer et al. 1973). Also insufficient quantitative information is available on the extent and nature of renesting (i.e. nesting more than once in a nesting season) and on movements of adult females during the nesting season.

A better understanding of these aspects of reproduction is critical for the development of an accurate population-dynamics model for the species. Such a model is sorely needed to evaluate the impact and effectiveness of proposed population management strategies in places where blackbirds are deemed a health or safety hazard, or cause damage to agricultural crops (Tosh et al. 1970, Solman 1971, Stone et al. 1972).

This study had three objectives: (1) to determine the distribution, size, and number of Red-winged Blackbird territories for an old-field habitat; (2) to determine the number of nesting females, nesting success, extent of renesting, and number of young fledged for these territories; and (3) to examine movements of female Red-wings during the nesting season.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Reproductive rate and temporal spacing of nesting of red-winged blackbirds in upland habitat
Series title The Auk
Volume 93
Issue 2
Year Published 1976
Language English
Publisher American Ornithological Society
Contributing office(s) Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Description 13 p.
First page 343
Last page 355