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Euphagus is a small genus of American blackbirds. It contains two extant species: Brewer's blackbird, Euphagus cyanocephalus, and rusty blackbird E. carolinus.[1] A prehistoric relative, Euphagus magnirostris, is known from Late Pleistocene fossils found in the famous tar seeps of Rancho La Brea, California.[2]

Euphagus cyanocephalus -California -USA-6a.jpg
Male Brewer's blackbird
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Icteridae
Genus: Euphagus
Cassin, 1867

E. carolinus
E. cyanocephalus

The living species are very similar medium-sized birds. Adult males have mainly black plumage and a bright yellow eye; females are dark gray-brown.

Extant SpeciesEdit

Image Scientific name Common Name Distribution
  Euphagus cyanocephalus Brewer's blackbird United States, Canada
  E. carolinus rusty blackbird United States, Canada, Mexico


Both are migratory, wintering in the southern United States and Mexico, although some Brewer's blackbirds are present all year in the western US.

They build cup nests, and the female alone incubates the eggs. They are gregarious outside the breeding season.

Both species feed on seeds and insects, the rusty having a particularly high insect component to its diet. The fortunes of the two species are contrasting, with Brewer’s expanding east in the Great Lakes region, while rusty shows a worrying decline in numbers.


  1. ^ "ITIS Report: Euphagus". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 4 January 2017.
  2. ^ Miller, Alden H. (January 1947). "A New Genus of Icterid from Rancho La Brea" (PDF). The Condor. 49 (1): 22–24. doi:10.2307/1364424. JSTOR 1364424.