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Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus

Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Superphylum: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Cladus: Craniata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Superclassis: Tetrapoda
Cladus: Reptiliomorpha
Cladus: Amniota
Classis: Reptilia
Cladus: Eureptilia
Cladus: Romeriida
Subclassis: Diapsida
Cladus: Sauria
Infraclassis: Archosauromorpha
Cladus: Crurotarsi
Divisio: Archosauria
Subsectio: Ornithodira
Subtaxon: Dinosauromorpha
Cladus: Dinosauria
Ordo: Saurischia
Cladus: Eusaurischia
Cladus: Theropoda
Cladus: Neotheropoda
Infraclassis: Aves
Ordo: Passeriformes
Subordo: Passeri
Infraordo: Passerida
Superfamilia: Passeroidea

Familia: Icteridae
Genus: Xanthocephalus
Species: Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus
Name

Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus (Bonaparte, 1826)
Synonymy

Icterus xanthocephalus (protonym)

References

Journal of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia 5: 223.

Vernacular names
català: Merla de cap groc
čeština: Vlhovec žlutohlavý
Cymraeg: Tresglen benfelen
dansk: Gulhovedet Trupial
Deutsch: Gelbkopf-Schwarzstärling
English: Yellow-headed Blackbird
Esperanto: Flavkapa trupialo
español: Tordo Cabeciamarillo
فارسی: سیاه‌مرغ سرزرد
suomi: Keltahupputurpiaali
français: Carouge à tête jaune
magyar: Sárgafejű csiröge
íslenska: Gullsóti
italiano: Ittero testagialla
日本語: キガシラムクドリモドキ
lietuvių: Geltongalvis trupialas
Nederlands: Geelkoptroepiaal
norsk: Gulhodetrupial
Diné bizaad: Chʼagiitsoh
polski: Kacyk żółtogłowy
português: Graúna-de-cabeça-amarela
русский: Желтоголовый трупиал
slovenčina: Lúčnik žltohlavý
svenska: Gulhuvad ängstrupial
中文: 黄头黑鹂

The yellow-headed blackbird (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus) is a medium-sized blackbird, and the only member of the genus Xanthocephalus.

Description and Taxonomy

Measurements:[2]

Length: 8.3-10.2 in (21-26 cm)
Weight: 1.6-3.5 oz (44-100 g)
Wingspan: 16.5-17.3 in (42-44 cm)

Yellow-headed blackbirds (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus)[3] are considered to be relatively large blackbirds with large heads. Their name derives from the Greek word for yellow, xanthous, and the word for head, cephalus.[3] Adults have a pointed bill. The adult male is mainly black with a yellow head and breast; they have a white wing patch sometimes only visible in flight. The adult female is mainly brown with a dull yellow throat and breast. Immature members of both sexes are brown with duller yellow plumage compared to adult males. Immature males also have some white patches on the wing.[4] Both sexes resemble the respective sexes of the smaller yellow-hooded blackbird of South America.
Behavior and Ecology
Migration, Habitat, and Breeding

These birds migrate in the winter to the southwestern United States and Mexico. They often migrate in huge flocks with other species of birds. The only regions of the United States where these blackbirds are permanent residents are the San Joaquin Valley and the Lower Colorado River Valley of Arizona and California. It is an extremely rare vagrant to western Europe, with some records suspected to refer to escapes from captivity. When migrating, males and females travel separately. Males typically arrive at the breeding marshes 2-3 weeks before females during spring migration.[5] Research suggests that females choose breeding sites based on the reproductive success (number of young per breeding female) of the site in previous years.[6]

The breeding habitat of the yellow-headed blackbird are marshes in North America (mainly west of the Great Lakes), particularly in plants such as cattails (genus Typha), bulrush (genus Scirpus), and common reeds (genus Phragmites).[7] The nest is built with and attached to marsh vegetation and is constructed over open water.[5] They nest in colonies, often sharing their habitat closely with the red-winged blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus). During the breeding and nesting season the males are very territorial and spend much of their time perched on reed stalks and displaying or chasing off intruders.
Food

These birds eat seeds during majority of the year and insects throughout the summer months.[8] They birds forage in the marsh, in fields or on the ground; they sometimes catch insects in flight. Sunflowers are fairly popular amongst Yellow-headed Blackbirds in the Northern Great Plains, with a study indicating that males eat more sunflower than grains and females more grains than sunflower.[9] Some methods of gathering food involve flipping over stones, catching insects from the top of water, and foraging. Foraging methods take place in uplands, with the flock taking a "rolling" formation in which birds fly from the back to the front of the flock to feed. Female Yellow-headed blackbirds primarily feed their newly-hatched young insects from the order Odonata, which includes dragonflies and damselflies.[10] Outside the nesting period, they often feed in flocks, often with related species.
Songs and Calls

This bird's song resembles the grating of a rusty hinge. Male Yellow-headed blackbirds have been observed to have two types of songs, and "accent song" and a "buzz song". The “buzz songs'' have much higher pitch than the accent song, and thus do not echo as well in the dense marshes they live in. For that reason, buzzing songs are typically done when communicating closer whereas accent songs are done to communicate with birds further in the marshes.[11] Female birds have a song that is described to be similar to the male "buzz song", consisting of harsh grating or buzz sounds. Both sexes are also found to elicit harsh calling notes.[12]
Natural Threats

Yellow‐headed blackbirds have been found to be sensitive to nest predation risk, for example by Marsh wrens (Cistothorus palustris), and alter their nest attendance behavior accordingly.[13]
Conservation
Because Yellow-headed blackbirds typically reside in wetlands, their population numbers depend on the conditions of the wetlands in which they reside.[14] For instance, drainage projects, herbicides/pesticides, and other crop protection methods have impacts on the health of wetlands, and consequently, cause the bird population to fluctuate in number. Currently, Yellow-headed blackbird numbers are stable and will likely remain that way in the long term.

References

BirdLife International (2016). "Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2016: e.T22724169A94852992. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22724169A94852992.en. Retrieved 12 November 2021.
"Yellow-headed Blackbird Identification, All About Birds, Cornell Lab of Ornithology". www.allaboutbirds.org. Retrieved 30 September 2020.
Twedt, Daniel J. "Ecology of yellow-headed blackbirds." Ecology and Management of Blackbirds (Icteridae) in North America. CRC Press, 2017. 43-64.
"Yellow-headed Blackbird Identification, All About Birds, Cornell Lab of Ornithology". www.allaboutbirds.org. Retrieved 30 September 2020.
Ellarson, ROBERT S. "The yellow-headed blackbird in Wisconsin." Passenger Pigeon 12 (1950): 99-109.
Ward, Michael P. (1 October 2005). "Habitat selection by dispersing yellow-headed blackbirds: evidence of prospecting and the use of public information". Oecologia. 145 (4): 650–657. doi:10.1007/s00442-005-0179-0. ISSN 1432-1939.
Nero, Robert W. (1963). "Comparative Behavior of the Yellow-Headed Blackbird, Red-Winged Blackbird, and Other Icterids". The Wilson Bulletin. 75 (4): 376–413. ISSN 0043-5643.
"Yellow-headed Blackbird Life History, All About Birds, Cornell Lab of Ornithology". www.allaboutbirds.org. Retrieved 10 November 2021.
Twedt, Daniel J., William J. Bleier, and George M. Linz. "Geographic and temporal variation in the diet of Yellow-headed Blackbirds." The Condor 93.4 (1991): 975-986.
Ward, Michael P. (1 October 2005). "Habitat selection by dispersing yellow-headed blackbirds: evidence of prospecting and the use of public information". Oecologia. 145 (4): 650–657. doi:10.1007/s00442-005-0179-0. ISSN 1432-1939.
"The Sweet Songs Of The Yellow-Headed Blackbird". Montana Public Radio. 15 June 2015. Retrieved 13 November 2021.
Nero, Robert W. (1963). "Comparative Behavior of the Yellow-Headed Blackbird, Red-Winged Blackbird, and Other Icterids". The Wilson Bulletin. 75 (4): 376–413. ISSN 0043-5643.
Behrens, C.; Ruff, Z.J.; Harms, T.M.; Dinsmore, S.J. (2019). "Predator density influences nest attendance of Yellow‐headed Blackbirds Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus". Ibis. 161 (3): 679–685. doi:10.1111/ibi.12705.
"Yellow-headed Blackbird Identification, All About Birds, Cornell Lab of Ornithology". www.allaboutbirds.org. Retrieved 30 September 2020.

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