Monday, January 19

Icterid alarm and contact calls I : Blackbirds

The Red-winged Blackbird has an amazing variety of calls.

The commonly heard check call, also frequently heard in flight (Jul, NJ)















Rusty Blackbirds have a similar chack call (perched male, with song phrases, Apr, NJ).














Red-winged Blackbird check call more rapidly given (Canada Goose in background, May, NJ).





Following are examples of various calls by males on breeding grounds. It appears that many of these "calls" are being used as alternatives to the full song.

Two males exchanging tyu calls (Gray Catbird mew in background, Jul, NJ).











pee (with Tree Swallows, May, PA).












Squeaky see and descending hoo calls(Jul, NJ).



squeaky see call









hoo calls.











chrek and and a whistled see (Jun, NJ).



chrek









whistled see (note similarity to squeaky see).











Ket call by two males in the same tree (Feb, NJ).













A rapidly repeated, high pitched tip which reminds me of a Chimney Swift (Apr, PA).











This one was recorded in Maine, a nasal wee (Jul, ME).













Female Red-winged Blackbirds have their own calls. This is the commonly heard rattle(May, NJ).

time scale reduced









A more gurgly call (May, NJ).

time scale reduced









Rusty Blackbirds have a slightly harder sounding chack call (compared to Red-winged Blackbird). As with that species, it appears to be used in several contexts (Mar, PA).



Another common call is a liquidy, low gup. Gup and chack calls by three migrants, initially foraging beside water, then flying up into a tree at 38s (Mar, PA).



Similar soft calls between three birds high in a yellow poplar (Nov, PA).


This higher and harder variant was used as a contact call between a pair of perched Rusty Blackbirds (male calls except fourth call by female)(Mar, PA).




The typical gup call is softer, lower and more liquid than the similar tup call of Red-winged Blackbirds.
Red-winged Blackbird (Apr, NJ).



Common Grackle, a buzzy trr call (Jul, ME)













A shorter version of this call repeated more rapidly (Apr, NJ).












A similar call (Mar, PA).



Several birds, with trr calls, rapidly repeated chack calls and squeaky song phrases (Apr, NJ).












Squeaky calls by Common Grackles are actually their song(Apr, NJ)












Compare with the song of Rusty Blackbird (migrants, Apr, NJ).














The Brown-headed Cowbird is an example of a species where the male and female "duet".
The rattle is the female, the squeaky note the male (May, NJ). The male song is these whistled notes preceded by gurgling sounds.




Sonagram showing male (two higher pitched notes) and rattle of female
time scale reduced











Brown-headed Cowbird duetting pair (Apr, NJ).














This is an all too common sound heard in summer, the begging call of a juvenile cowbird (July, NJ)

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