The yellow-headed blackbird is a real stunner in the plumage department. The male is the only North American bird with a black body and a yellow head, neck, and chest. In addition, he flashes large white wing patches in flight, a feature not present in the plain, more sparrowlike female.
Each spring, enormous flocks of yellowheads, which spend the winter from the southern United States to central Mexico, begin their northward migration, fanning out to claim colonial nesting territories in western North America, from southern Canada to northern Baja. They prefer freshwater marshes or reedy lakes, and are often seen foraging in nearby farmlands.
The yellow-headed blackbird has one of the most unusual of all bird calls and is decidedly unmusical, with its various hoarse chuckles, cacophonous strangling noises, and honking gurgles.