Brewer’s Blackbirds

Brewer's Blackbird maleBrewer’s Blackbird male – Nikon D200, f7.1, 1/500, ISO 320, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

I photographed this pair of Brewer’s Blackbirds (Euphagus cyanocephalus) at Farmington Bay Waterfowl Management Area in northern Utah.  The males have primarily dark plumage and pale yellow eyes. In the right light dark blue, green, purple and gold iridescence can be visible. Far from just a “black bird”.

Brewer's Blackbird femaleBrewer’s Blackbird female – Nikon D200, f7.1, 1/350, ISO 320, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

The females may be considered “plain” but even they have a lovely greenish iridescence  on their coverts and rump when photographed at the right angle. I like their dark eyes and subtle shades of brown in their plumage.

Brewer’s Blackbirds may not be the most well known of the Blackbird family; I am fairly certain that the Red-winged Blackbirds have that claim to fame, but they are beautiful and interesting subjects to photograph.


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About Mia McPherson

I am a nature lover, wildlife watcher and a bird photographer. I first become serious about bird photography when I moved to Florida in 2004 and it wasn’t long before I was hooked (addicted is more like it). My move to the Salt Lake area of Utah was a great opportunity to continue observing their behavior and to pursue my passion for photographing birds.


  1. Beautiful photos Mia, love the Brewers blackbirds. I have only seen them once.

  2. These are very beautiful photos Mia, you captured the blackbirds in such great light so that you can see their beautiful iridescence!

  3. Beautifly exposed, Mia. You nailed it. :-)

  4. These Blackbirds are stunning! The female is gorgeous with her iridescence colors; photographed perfectly! Grackles are parking lot birds here as well; my son enjoys tossing his cheerios to them when we visit the grocery store.

  5. Have you ever been to the McD’s in Syracuse? Are these the birds that hang out there? They are very vocal. And they are at the Smith’s there. I stop at McDs there every time I go to the Island.

    • Judy, the birds I have seen at the Syracuse McD’s (and that general area) are Great-tailed Grackles. Their iridescence can be quite beautiful too, they are larger and their tails are longer than Brewer’s Blackbirds.

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