Despite its name and colouration, 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 Blackbird breeds 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 songpost.
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 whist 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 female, 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 females of the two species are almost identical. Female Red-breasted Blackbird is 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.