Most Common Black Birds in Michigan (With Images)

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Michigan is a well-liked location for birdwatchers since it is home to a wide variety of black birds. A great diversity of bird species, including black birds, find refuge in the state’s diverse habitats and ecosystems. These fascinating animals exhibit a variety of distinctive qualities, both in terms of appearance and behavior.

In Michigan, the two most common blackbirds to be seen in the summer are Red-winged Blackbirds and Common Grackles.
European starlings live in Michigan all year round.
Large groups of the migratory Rusty Blackbird come through Michigan each year.
Although they are become harder to find, bobolinks may still be found in large fallow areas.
Often found in habitats that have been changed by humans, Brewer’s Blackbirds congregate in big flocks throughout the fall.
These are just a few of the many kinds of black birds that call Michigan home. For birdwatchers, each one provides a special chance to view and enjoy the beauties of nature. Regardless of your level of skill, discovering Michigan’s many black bird species will be a fulfilling and unforgettable experience.

Red-winged Blackbirds

In Michigan, one may often see Red-winged Blackbirds, which are distinguished by their eye-catching look and unique cry. It is distinguished from other bird species by its striking red shoulder patches and black feathers. The melodious singing of male Red-winged Blackbirds reverberates over wetlands and marshes, and they are bigger than females. During the mating season, these birds are quite protective of their nesting places and may be spotted perched on cattails and other tall plants.

When making territorial displays, the male Red-winged Blackbird flaunts his red shoulder patches and black plumage.

The main food sources for Red-winged Blackbirds are insects, seeds, and grains. Being omnivores, they will consume fruits and berries when they are available. They gather in big flocks throughout the winter and feed in fields and other agricultural areas. Being expert pilots, these birds are often seen doing acrobatic feats, effortlessly swooping through the skies.

Distribution and Habitat

In Michigan, red-winged blackbirds are mostly found in wetland habitats including bogs, swamps, and marshes. These birds are versatile and may be seen in meadows, roadside ditches, and agricultural areas. There are colonies of these birds from Alaska to Florida, and they are widespread across North America.

Tips for Watching Red-winged blackbirds

Search for male Red-winged Blackbirds with their red shoulder patches resting on cattails or other tall plants.
Pay attention to their unique song, which consists of a string of notes followed by a throaty grumble.
For the greatest chance of seeing these birds during the nesting season, go to agricultural fields and wetland regions.

Common Grackle

The Common Grackle, with its sharp yellow eyes and glossy black plumage, is a common sight in Michigan’s parks and gardens. This medium-sized blackbird is distinguished by its unusually long tail and iridescent feathers, which catch the sunshine and shimmer in shades of blue, green, and purple. Because of their extreme adaptability, common grackles may be found in a wide range of settings, including as marshes, suburban areas, and forests.

As opportunistic omnivores, these birds consume a variety of foods. They eat a variety of foods, including as grains, insects, fruits, and even small animals. The foraging habits of Common Grackles are well-known; they are often seen using their powerful bills to probe the ground or looking for food in nooks and crannies.

Male Common Grackles have characteristic sounds during mating season that resemble a combination of high-pitched squeaks and rusted gate hinges. They create a robust cup-shaped nesting building out of grass, twigs, and other plant materials in trees, generally close to water. The eggs are laid by females and hatch after about two weeks of incubation. The eggs might be light blue or greenish.

Being gregarious birds, common grackles often congregate in big groups, particularly in the winter. These flocks, which may sometimes number in the thousands, make for an amazing spectacle in the sky.

Important characteristics:

Glossy black feathers
Piercing the golden eyes
Long tail with a keel form
Feathers that shimmer in shades of blue, green, and purple
Name in Science Quiscalus quiscula
Measuring around 12 to 13 inches
Habitat: suburban areas, wetlands, and wetlands
Food Fruits, cereals, insects, and small animals
Call A distinctive blend of high-pitched squeaks and rusting gate hinges

European Starlings

You may see European Starlings all year round in Michigan, with their beautiful melodies and shimmering plumage. These endearing black birds are well-known for their gorgeous plumage, which shimmers in green and purple tones. Their attractiveness is enhanced by their ability to imitate the sounds of other birds, which makes them enjoyable to see and listen to.

Since its introduction in the late 1800s, this species has flourished in North America due to its adaptability. The gregarious European starling is often seen in big flocks that produce breathtaking airborne performances called murmurations. These birds eat a variety of foods, such as fruits, seeds, and insects, since they are opportunistic feeders. They often inhabit a range of environments, including farms, parks, suburban communities, and metropolitan regions.

The European Starling is an amazing bird in terms of both appearance and sound. It is an interesting addition to Michigan’s birding landscape because of its remarkable look and ability to imitate other species.

It’s important to observe European Starlings’ nesting behaviors. They often make their nests in cracks in trees, in birdhouses, and in man-made buildings. They build their nests out of grass, twigs, and feathers to provide their young a comfortable place to live. Males show off their courting plumage—which is speckled—in an attempt to entice females during the breeding season.

Use feeders or scatter mixed grains and seeds on the ground to attract European Starlings to your garden. These birds visit feeders with great enthusiasm if the food is conveniently available, since they like scavenging for food on the ground. Trees and bushes may be used to create a friendly environment, which will attract them to come and even nest in your yard.

Facts about European Starlings:

Name in science: Sturnus vulgaris
Measurements: 7-9 inches in length
Weight: two to three ounces
Wingspan: 12 to 15 in.
Food: Grains, fruits, seeds, and insects
Habitat: Farmland, suburban communities, and urban regions
Range: All over Michigan
Starling, European
Features: Nesting Habitat
Urban environments, suburban communities, parks, farms, tree cavities, and man-made buildings are all flexible and sociable.
iridescent feathers, grass, and twigs
copying the cries of other birds

Rusty Blackbird

The uncommon and fascinating Rusty Blackbird makes Michigan its temporary home during migratory season. This black bird, which is distinguished by its gorgeous reddish brown plumage and bright eyes, brings some color to the state’s varied bird population. Wetland habitats, especially swamps, marshes, and flooded forests, are home to Rusty Blackbirds, who feed on insects, fruits, and seeds there.

These migratory birds travel great distances; the southern United States to Central America is where their wintering habitats are. Michigan is one of their major rest stops along the way. Large groups of them congregate here, offering birdwatchers a spectacular sight as well as a chance to study their behavior and hear their distinctive sounds.

“It is quite amazing to see the Rusty Blackbird. Avid bird lover Jane Wilson described it as a genuine jewel for Michigan birdwatchers because of its beautiful plumage and musical sounds.

Rusty Blackbirds are attracted to regions with standing water, so if you want to attract them to your garden, think about adding a small pond or bird bath. Because they supply food and nesting places, planting native shrubs and trees may also help create an enticing environment for them.

Facts about Rusty Blackbird

Scientific Name: Euphagus carolinus, the Rusty Blackbird, inhabits marshes, flooded forests, and swamps.
Just one of the many amazing black bird species that may be seen in Michigan is the Rusty Blackbird. Discovering the state’s rich avian population offers a unique chance to enjoy the wonder of these fascinating species and the beauty of nature, regardless of expertise level.


The Bobolink is still present in certain fallow areas in Michigan, and it has a distinctive song and plumage. It’s impressive to see this stunning black bird, often referred to as the “rice bird” or “skunk blackbird.” The female Bobolink has a more muted look, whereas the male has a black body with white spots on its back.

Bobolinks may be heard singing their bubbly, tinkling notes over the fields during mating season. They are known as the “butterfly of the meadow” because to their amazing vocal show, which, together with their remarkable appearance, makes them a real treasure for birdwatchers.

Large fallow fields are the greatest places to look for glimpses of these elusive birds, since that’s where they like to graze and nest. Because of habitat degradation, bobolinks are becoming more uncommon, so seeing one is a unique experience. Any birdwatcher visiting Michigan should not miss them because of their added attractiveness stemming from their endangered status.

When you start your Michigan birding adventure, be sure to listen for the unique sound of the Bobolink. These stunning black birds steal the hearts of those who see them, using fields as their stage. You never know what additional bird marvels may be waiting for you in the state’s many environments, so don’t forget to pack your binoculars and a feeling of awe.

Remember that bird populations might fluctuate and that there’s no guarantee of sightings. Respecting the birds’ habitats and keeping a safe and adequate distance from them is always important. Enjoy your time observing birds!

Brewer’s Blackbird

Urban areas in Michigan come alive with the sights and sounds of the sociable and versatile Brewer’s Blackbird throughout the fall season. You may see these glossy-feathered blackbirds, with their vivid yellow eyes, sitting on power lines or browsing in wide-open spaces. They are opportunistic feeders, taking in a variety of foods such as berries, grains, and insects.

Brewer’s Blackbirds are noted for their flocking habit. When they get together in large numbers, they can produce amazing displays when they soar over the air. They are very gregarious birds and are often seen gathering with other kinds of blackbirds, including Common Grackles and Red-winged Blackbirds. They benefit from greater foraging efficiency and safety in numbers as a result of their cooperative behavior.Because they can adapt to a variety of settings, Brewer’s Blackbirds are prevalent across Michigan. They are found in parks, farmlands, and suburban regions, among other rural and urban settings. They congregate in big groups in the fall, which is a sight for nature lovers and birdwatchers.

Preferences for Habitat:
Type of Habitat: Preferred Sites
Open Fields Farmlands, rural and suburban regions
Urban Areas: City streets, parking spaces, and parks
Marshes and lakeshores in wetlands
It’s amazing to see the social interactions and communication of Brewer’s Blackbirds. They often perform vocal displays, interacting with one another via a range of sounds and melodies. Their charming chatting and whistling combine to provide a lovely symphony that reverberates throughout their preferred habitats.

Look for the Brewer’s Blackbird if you’re organizing a Michigan birding trip. They are a fascinating species to watch because of their flexibility and gregarious behavior, particularly in the fall when they flourish in the state’s metropolitan environments.

The Michigan Brown-headed Cowbird: An Interesting yet Differing Black Bird Species
In Michigan, the Brown-headed Cowbird is a stunning black bird species that is both interesting and controversial because of its parasitic breeding habits. Brown-headed Cowbirds have a distinctive reproductive technique; they are well-known for depositing their eggs in the nests of other birds. They may conserve energy and redirect resources elsewhere thanks to this behavior, but it also raises questions about how it may affect other bird populations.

Brown-headed Cowbird

The Brown-headed Cowbird is readily identified by its dark body and glossy black plumage, which contrast starkly. Its brown head also stands out. This species is found all across the state of Michigan, where it inhabits a variety of environments, including suburban areas, grasslands, and forests. As opportunistic feeders, they eat a variety of foods, including as grains, seeds, and insects.

The Brown-headed Cowbird has drawn criticism and controversy for its parasitic lifestyle. The host birds’ ability to reproduce may suffer as a consequence of their propensity to lay eggs in the nests of other bird species, which often causes the host’s eggs to be abandoned. Some bird species, on the other hand, have evolved to live in harmony with cowbirds by identifying and avoiding the eggs laid by the birds in their nests.To sum up, the Brown-headed Cowbird is a fascinating species of black bird that may be found in Michigan. It is a subject of both debate and curiosity. It is a fascinating topic for biologists and birdwatchers alike because of its unusual reproduction method and remarkable appearance. The behavior and ecological interactions of the Brown-headed Cowbird may provide important insights on the fragile balance of Michigan’s environment.

Orioles and Meadowlarks

A multitude of orioles and meadowlarks, each with its own distinct beauty and presence, may be found in Michigan’s woodlands and meadows. The Orchard Oriole, Baltimore Oriole, Hooded Oriole, Western Meadowlark, and Yellow-headed Blackbird are among the black bird species that are often seen in the state.

The Orchard Oriole is a little black bird that lives in forested regions and orchards. It has bright orange plumage and a sweet voice. It is well-known for both its exquisitely built nests and its predilection for eating mostly insects and nectar. During the mating season, which runs from May to August, birdwatchers may glimpse this beautiful species as it performs its elaborate wooing rituals.

The Baltimore Orioles, named after the colors of Lord Baltimore, are recognizable to onlookers because to their eye-catching orange and black feathers. These birds nest often on maple, oak, and elm trees and like open forest environments. Baltimore Orioles are known for their unusual hanging nests and eat nectar, fruits, and insects. They are a pleasure to see in the summertime because of their vibrant colors and endearing sounds.

The Hooded Oriole has a bright yellow hood with black wings and back, giving it a similar look to the Baltimore Oriole. During the mating season, these orioles may be found in the southern sections of Michigan, where they have a preference for palm palms. The state is touched with a hint of tropical splendor by Hooded Orioles’ melodic singing and elegant flying.

The Western Meadowlark has a black V-shaped band on its breast. These birds are found in grasslands and meadows, where they sing in a distinctive flute-like style. Insects, seeds, and berries are the main foods of Western Meadowlarks, who are well-known for their ground-nesting habits. In Michigan’s broad spaces, seeing their brilliant yellow chests and listening to their melodious cries is a magical experience.

The meadowlark and oriole species in Michigan enhance the state’s birdlife with their melodic melodies and vivid colors. Birdwatchers are captivated by the distinct traits of these black bird species, which range from the Orchard Oriole’s delicate elegance to the Baltimore Oriole’s spectacular hanging nests. Michigan’s natural scenery is further enhanced by the Western Meadowlark’s lovely singing and the Hooded Oriole’s eye-catching yellow hood. For those who love the outdoors, seeing these magnificent birds in their native environments is a great pleasure.

Shiny Cowbird

For devoted birdwatchers in Michigan, the Shiny Cowbird is a fascinating discovery because of its iridescent plumage and unexpected showings. This species is hard for fans to see since it is native to South America and only sporadically makes its way to the state. The glossy Cowbird, which stands out with its glossy black feathers and captivating golden eyes, gives the local bird population a hint of exoticism.

The Shiny Cowbird is an incidental and sporadic visitor, although sightings have been documented in Michigan, especially during migratory seasons. The bird prefers a variety of open environments, including woodland margins, grasslands, and agricultural regions, where it may locate appropriate hosts for its parasitic nesting activity. The host parents of other bird species are left to raise their young alongside those of the Shiny Cowbirds after the females deposit their eggs in their nests.

Unique Qualities
The Shiny Cowbird’s glossy black plumage, which gleams vividly in the sunshine, is one of its distinguishing features. The male Shiny Cowbird is distinguished by his sturdy, stocky body, black eyes that contrast exquisitely with its dark plumage, and a beak that is slightly curved. For the short time it spends in Michigan, its song—a sophisticated and diverse blend of notes—adds to its charm.

Characteristics Behavior Habitat
• Parasitic nesting habits; • Glossy black plumage; • Open environments, including grasslands, agricultural areas, and forest margins
• Has bright yellow eyes; • Deposits eggs in other bird species’ nests
• Sturdy and plump physique
Even though the Shiny Cowbird’s visits to Michigan are very temporary, it is nevertheless an amazing experience to see this unusual bird at the northernmost part of its range. Keeping a look out for this uncommon visitor may add excitement and amazement to Michigan birdwatchers’ birding excursions.

We will look at the Eastern Meadowlark, another migratory black bird species that travels through Michigan, in the next portion of this article. Watch this space for more enlightening observations on the variety of birds that inhabit Michigan.

Eastern Meadowlark

During their migrating seasons, the Eastern Meadowlark’s mesmerizing melodies fill Michigan’s meadows. These stunning black birds are well-known for their unique tunes, which uplift the surroundings by saturating the atmosphere with upbeat notes. Eastern Meadowlarks have striking black patterns on their backs and vivid yellow undersides, making them a magnificent sight. Eastern Meadowlarks travel through Michigan in the spring and autumn, which is the best time for birdwatchers to see these fascinating birds. In order to feed on insects and seeds, these migratory birds like wide grasslands, fields, and meadows with little tree cover. Their lyrical vocalizations have the ability to travel great distances, functioning as demonstrations of territory and courting.

There are many places in Michigan where enthusiastic birdwatchers may see the Eastern Meadowlark in its native environment. Prairies and grasslands, like Kellogg Bird Sanctuary and Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge, are well-liked locations for birding because you can see their elegant flying patterns and hear their beautiful voices.

“When the Eastern Meadowlark migrates, the mesmerizing songs of this bird fill the grasslands of Michigan.”

Conservation activities are essential to maintaining the Eastern Meadowlark population, which is threatened by habitat loss and land use changes. These amazing birds are really exceptional. We can guarantee their continuous existence in Michigan’s thriving ecology by sponsoring groups devoted to habitat protection and encouraging sustainable land management techniques.

Facts about Eastern Meadowlark
Name in science: Turnella magna
Dimensions: around 9 by 11 inches
Habitat: fields, meadows, and grasslands
Diet Berries, seeds, and insects
Status of Conservation: Low Concern

More Blackbirds in Michigan

A few uncommon sightings, in addition to the typical black bird species in Michigan, spice up the birding experience. For those who like birding, seeing these black birds may be an exciting and satisfying experience even if they are not as common. Let’s investigate a few of these uncommon species of black birds that may be found in Michigan.

Eastern Towhee

During the mating season, black birds of the Eastern Towhee, sometimes called Rufous-sided Towhee, may be seen in Michigan. Within the world of birdwatching, the Eastern Towhee is distinguished by its eye-catching brilliant red eyes and stunning black plumage. It is a rare observation for those investigating Michigan’s many ecosystems since it favors fields, wooded regions, and shrubby places.

Hooded Oriole and the Western Meadowlark

Notably uncommon but routinely appearing in Michigan are two black bird species: the Hooded Oriole and the Western Meadowlark. For birdwatchers who are fortunate enough to see one, the Hooded Oriole is a sight to behold, thanks to its vivid black and yellow plumage. The Western Meadowlark, renowned for its exquisite melodies, lends a magical touch to Michigan’s birding locations. On your next birdwatching excursion, keep a look out for these remarkable black birds.

Black Bird Species: Preferred Environments & Notable Features
Eastern Towhee Sharp, black plumage, red eyes, meadows, wood borders
Black and yellow plumage; woodlands, parks, gardens; Hooded Oriole
Western Meadowlark Yellow underparts, melodic songs, pastures, and farms
There is a feeling of amazement and discovery associated with birding when one spots these uncommon black bird species in Michigan. They are a priceless discovery for both seasoned and inexperienced birdwatchers because to their distinctive traits, mannerisms, and captivating looks. Keep a look out for these fascinating black birds when you visit Michigan’s birding locations, and don’t forget to pack your binoculars and camera to record the wonder of these exceptional sightings.

Getting blackbirds to come to your garden may be a rewarding and pleasurable experience. You may make your yard inviting to blackbirds by scattering mixed grains and seeds on the ground or by using feeders made especially for them. To guarantee that the blackbirds return, keep the feeding area tidy and replenish the feeders on a regular basis.

There are many different kinds of black birds in Michigan, and each has unique traits and habits that make them intriguing. There’s always something new and fascinating to find out about the world of black birds, from the ubiquitous Red-winged Blackbird and European Starling to the more uncommon occurrences of the Eastern Towhee, Hooded Oriole, and Western Meadowlark. Thus, grab your binoculars, visit Michigan’s birding locations, and set off on an engrossing voyage through the varied world of black birds.

Final Thoughts

Birdwatchers have a fantastic chance to see the wonders of nature right in their own backyard thanks to Michigan’s blackbirds. The blackbirds of Michigan enthrall both beginning and seasoned birdwatchers with their wide variety of species, each with distinct traits and preferred habitats.

During the summer, the most common blackbirds to be seen are the Red-winged Blackbird and Common Grackle, whose unique cries fill the air. In contrast, European Starlings live there year-round and display their colorful feathers all year long.

The Rusty Blackbird, a migratory bird, visits Michigan’s sky throughout its voyage, providing breathtaking views of enormous flocks for those who choose to see them. In the meanwhile, the previously abundant but increasingly scarce Bobolink now favors huge fallow areas. Conversely, Brewer’s Blackbirds congregate in large flocks in the fall and are often seen in habitats that have been changed by humans.

Other black bird species that visit Michigan include the Brown-headed Cowbird, Oriole, Meadowlark, and Cowbird, each of which adds a certain appeal to the state’s bird population. Furthermore, birdwatchers have excellent opportunity to see the elusive Shiny Cowbird and the migratory Eastern Meadowlark during their infrequent visits.

Some black-colored bird species, such as the American Crow, American Coot, and Common Gallinule, are also common in Michigan’s sky, while not being considered blackbirds. Using feeders or scattering mixed grains and seeds on the ground can work to get these fascinating birds into your area.

The beauty of nature and the marvels that await those who journey into the realm of birdwatching are exemplified by Michigan’s black birds. For those who take the time to examine and appreciate them, blackbirds provide unending intrigue, from their different sizes and colorations to their distinctive nesting practices and migratory patterns.


Which black birds are most prevalent in Michigan?

A list of the fifteen most common blackbirds in Michigan includes the following: Brown-headed Cowbird, Brown-winged Blackbird, Eastern Towhee, Orchard Oriole, Baltimore Oriole, Shiny Cowbird, Eastern Meadowlark, Hooded Oriole, and Western Meadowlark. * The most common blackbird in Michigan is the Red-winged Blackbird.

Which black birds may be seen in Michigan the most often in the summer?

A: The Red-winged Blackbird and Common Grackle are the two black birds that are most often seen in Michigan in the summer.

Which species of black birds live in Michigan year-round?

A: European starlings live in Michigan all year round.

Which kind of black bird migrates through Michigan?

A migratory species, the Rusty Blackbird travels through Michigan in big numbers.

In Michigan, where can I locate Bobolinks?

A declining species in Michigan, bobolinks like wide fallow areas.

In Michigan, where can I often locate Brewer’s Blackbirds?

Brewer’s Blackbirds congregate in big flocks in the fall and are often observed in Michigan’s changed human habitats.

What makes Brown-headed Cowbirds special?

It’s well known that Brown-headed Cowbirds deposit their eggs in other bird species’ nests.

Other than grackles and red-winged blackbirds, what other black bird species are there in Michigan?

Eastern Towhees, Baltimore, Orchard, Yellow-headed Blackbirds, Shiny Cowbirds, Eastern Meadowlarks, Hooded Orioles, and Western Meadowlarks are some more black bird species that are often seen in Michigan.

How can I get blackbirds to come to my backyard?

You may use feeders or mixed grains and seeds scattered on the ground to attract blackbirds to your garden.

Are there any other birds in Michigan that have a black coloration but aren’t considered blackbirds?

While certain black-colored birds do exist in Michigan, such as the American Crow, American Coot, and Common Gallinule, they are not considered blackbirds.

What kinds of black birds may one find in Michigan?

A variety of black bird species may be found in Michigan. The brown-headed cowbird, glossy cowbird, Brewer’s blackbird, red-winged blackbird, and common grackle are a few of them.

In Michigan, where are black birds found?

Black birds are found all across Michigan, in both the north and the south of the state.

Do areas with open water appeal to black birds?

It is true that certain species of black birds, such the glossy cowbird and Brewer’s blackbird, like their homes close to bodies of water.

What characteristics make black birds in Michigan apart?

Black birds in Michigan often have black bodies with white streaks or spots. Some species have brilliant yellow or red patches on their wings, such as the red-winged blackbird.

Do all black birds have the color black?

No, Michigan does not have only black birds. For instance, the shining cowbird has a dark brown body with a shiny look, while the female red-winged blackbird is brown with black markings.

Do any black birds have white patterns on them?

Yes, there are black birds with white markings in Michigan. For instance, the Brewer’s blackbird may have white patches on its body, while the common grackle has a white patch on its wings.

Is it true that any black birds deposit their eggs in other species’ nests?

It is true that the shining cowbird is a brood parasite, which means that it deposits its eggs in the nests of other bird species so that those species may raise them as its own.

What is the size of Michigan’s blackbird population?

The majority of blackbirds in Michigan are medium-sized, however they may vary in size.

Is it possible to find bigger black birds than the red-winged blackbird?

A black bird that is bigger than the red-winged blackbird is the common grackle.

Is the neck of a black bird always black?

No, necks are not always black in black birds. The female red-winged blackbird, for example, has a pale yellow throat.

I'm Nauman Afridi, the bird enthusiast behind My lifelong passion for birds has led me to create a space where fellow bird lovers can find valuable insights and tips on caring for our feathered friends.Professionally, I'm a brand strategist and digital marketing consultant, bringing a unique perspective to the world of bird care. Whether you're a novice or an experienced bird owner, is designed to be a welcoming community for all.Feel free to explore, and reach out if you have any questions or just want to chat about birds.
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