Despite its name and coloration, it is in the same genus as the meadowlarks and is less closely related to the Red-winged Blackbird group. It is unrelated to the European Blackbird, which is a thrush.
Distribution / Range
The White-browed Blackbirds breed in northeastern Brazil and in southern South America from southwestern Brazil through Paraguay, Uruguay, and Argentina. Southern populations are partially migratory.
Like other meadowlarks, it is a bird associated with open country, including moist grasslands, pasture, and cultivation, preferably with the odd bush or fence post for males to use as a signpost.
White-browed Blackbird has benefited from the more open habitat created by forest clearance and ranching and is extending its range.
Calls / Vocalization
In display, the male flies up to 10 m in the air, then parachutes down on folded wings whilst singing an initially buzzing song, followed by a series of notes TZZZZZZ-teee-chu-chu-chak-chak. The call is a short chuck.
Breeding / Nesting
The White-browed Blackbird builds a deep grass-lined open cup nest on the ground amongst tall grasses, with several nests often close together. The normal clutch is three to five reddish brown-blotched greenish eggs.
White-browed Blackbird is a small icterid.
The male has mainly black plumage, apart from a bright red throat, belly, and wing shoulder patches (epaulets), and a white supercilium.
The female has buff-edged dark brown upperpart feathers, buff underparts, and pale streaks through the crown and eye.
Juveniles resemble the females but are paler.
Similar Species ID: This species is very closely related to the Red-breasted Blackbird, S. militaris which breeds further north, and was formerly considered to be subspecies of that bird.
The male White-browed is easily distinguished by his bright white supercilium, but the females of the two species are almost identical. Female Red-breasted Blackbirds are longer billed, smaller, and shorter winged than White-browed, with more red and less streaking on the underparts.
Diet / Feeding
This gregarious bird feeds mainly on insects and some seeds, including rice, and forages on the ground like a Bobolink.