Skip to main content

Wild About Illinois Birds - Blackbirds!

Family and Species Gallery

Kingdom: Animalia - Animals are multicellular organisms that rely on other organisms for nourishment. There cells do not have cell walls. Most animals are capable of movement at least in some portion of their life cycle. Reproduction is generally sexual, but in some animals asexual reproduction may be utilized at certain times.
Phylum: Chordata - The Phylum Chordata contains the vertebrate animals. Mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fishes are included in this phylum. These animals have a notochord at some point in their development. They have a tubular nerve cord along the back. Gill slits and a tail are present at some point in their life cycle. They have an internal skeleton.
Class: Aves (birds) - Birds are the only organisms with feathers. They are endotherms, maintaining a nearly constant body temperature. They have a hard bill but no teeth. A gizzard, which functions to grind food, is present in the digestive tract. Fertilization is internal. A nest is built in which the hard-shelled eggs are deposited and incubated.
Order: Passeriformes - These are birds with adaptations for holding on to thin twigs or stems. Three of the toes on each foot face forward and one backward to help it grasp and balance on small branches.
Family: Icteridae (Blackbirds) - Blackbirds have a medium-sized, sharp-pointed bill. In most species, the male and female have different coloration. The diet consists of insects, seeds, fruits and other items.
     yellow-headed blackbird (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus) [state endangered]
     bobolink (Dolichonyx oryzivorus)
     eastern meadowlark (Sturnella magna)
     western meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta)
     orchard oriole (Icterus spurius)
     Baltimore oriole (Icterus galbula)
     red-winged blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)
     brown-headed cowbird (Molothrus ater)
     rusty blackbird (Euphagus carolinus)
     Brewer’s blackbird (Euphagus cyanocephalus)
     common grackle (Quiscalus quiscula)
     great-tailed grackle (Quiscalus mexicanus)