Bobolink: Small, lark-like blackbird, all-black except for buff nape, white rump, and white wing patches. Tertials and wing coverts are lined with buff. Tail feathers are sharply pointed. Legs and feet are gray. Eats caterpillars, insects, seeds and grains. Strong undulating flight.
Range and Habitat
Bobolink: Breeds from southern British Columbia across southern Canada to Nova Scotia and south to eastern Oregon, central Colorado, central Illinois, western Virginia, and western North Carolina. Spends winters in southern South America. Preferred habitats include prairies and meadows; stays on marshes during migration.
Each fall, they gather in large numbers in southern rice fields, where their habit of eating grain has earned them the name "ricebird." They are collected as food in Jamaica, where they are called “butter birds”--a commentary on how fat they are as they pass through on migration.
The Bobolink is the only American bird that is black underneath and white on the back. This coloring makes the male stand out while he is performing his displays. After breeding he changes into a drab, camouflaged plumage to spend the rest of the year.
They are one of the few songbirds that undergo two complete molts each year, completely changing its feathers on both the breeding and wintering grounds.
A group of bobolinks are collectively known as a "chain" of bobolinks.
The Bobolink has a large range that is estimated to be about 3,900,000 square kilometers globally. It is native to North, Central, and South America, though it has been spotted in Cocos Islands, France, Gibraltar, Greenland, Italy, Ireland, Portugal, United Kingdom, and Norway. It prefers a habitat that is savanna, grassland, or artificial terrestrial area. The global population of the bird is estimated at 11,000,000 individuals. While the population trends have not been determined, they are not believed to meet or approach the population decline criteria that mandate inclusion to the IUCN Red List. Because of these population trends, the Bobolink has an evaluation level of Least Concern.