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13 Types of Black Birds in Arizona (With Pictures)

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Brewers blackbird

If you are new to birdwatching or are just trying to identify what birds are visiting your yard, there are quite a few black birds that you should be aware of in Arizona.

We highlighted 13 of them here. Some of these birds are black from beak to tail feathers, while others only have splashes of black on their bodies. We break it all down for you here.

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The 13 Types of Blackbirds in Arizona

1. Red-Winged Blackbird

red-winged blackbird
Image Credit: Meister199, Pixabay
Scientific Name: Agelaius phooeniceus
Population: 210 million
IUCN Status: Least Concern
Time in Arizona: Year-round

One of the most common black birds in Arizona is the red-winged blackbird. But a more accurate name would be “red-shouldered.”

The red-winged blackbird only has a splash of color on the tops of its wings. Most of it is red, but there’s also a touch of yellow there. The rest of the bird is completely black, making it one of the most noticeable and easily identifiable blackbirds in Arizona.

2. Great-Tailed Grackle

Great-Tailed Grackle on the grass
Image Credit: RBCKPICTURES, Pixabay
Scientific Name: Quiscalus mexicanus
Population: 8.2 million
IUCN Status: Least Concern
Time in Arizona: Year-round

There are a few different grackle species in Arizona, but one of the most identifiable is the great-tailed grackle. This bird has an impressive large black tail.

The entire bird is black, but you might catch a tinge of purple around the head if the sunlight hits it the right way. You can find these beautiful black birds in Arizona year-round.

3. Brewer’s Blackbird

Brewer's blackbird hunting for food
Image Credit: Danita Delimont, Shutterstock
Scientific Name: Euphagus cyanocephalus
Population: 23 million
IUCN Status: Least Concern
Time in Arizona: Nonbreeding/year-round

This might not be the most impressive black bird in Arizona, but it is one of the most common, especially during the winter months. It has a year-round presence in the northern half of the state, but if you venture farther south, you will only find it there during the cooler months.

It’s a small bird that’s completely black, with metallic flecks that you can spot in the sun. It has small beady eyes and a pointy black beak.

4. European Starling

European starling
Image Credit: arjma, Shutterstock
Scientific Name: Sturnis vulgaris
Population: 200 million
IUCN Status: Least Concern
Time in Arizona: Year-round

The European starling is an invasive species across the entire United States, but it has no problem thriving now that it’s here. These are larger black birds, with flecks of green, white, purple, and brown throughout their feathering.

They have sharp yellow beaks and drive off local birds to establish their territory. Most people view the European starling as a pest bird.

5. Brown-Headed Cowbird

Brown-Headed Cowbird on the ground
Image Credit: Bernell, Pixabay
Scientific Name: Molothrus ater
Population: 120 million
IUCN Status: Least Concern
Time in Arizona: Breeding/year-round

Brown-headed cowbirds are interesting birds in that they don’t have any nests of their own. Instead, they drop their eggs in the nests of other birds, which raise the chicks as their own.

If you spot a black brown-headed cowbird, you’ve spotted a male, but it will sometimes have a blue tinge to its feathers.

6. Yellow-Headed Blackbird

Yellow-Headed Blackbird
Image Credit: Kenneth Rush, Shutterstock
Scientific Name: Xanthocephalus xanthoscephalus
Population: 23 million
IUCN Status: Least Concern
Time in Arizona: Nonbreeding, migration, and breeding

The title of the most beautiful black bird in Arizona might just belong to the yellow-headed blackbird. While its wings, back, and tailfeather are all black, its head is a bright yellow that contrasts beautifully with the rest of its body.

The shoulders of this beautiful bird do have touches of white, but you can only see them when it’s in flight. Still, the yellow head is what makes this bird so distinguishable. When you can see these birds, though, depends on where you live in Arizona, as they live in different parts of the state at different times throughout the year.

7. Bullock’s Oriole

Bullock’s Oriole
Image Credit: PublicDomainImages, Pixabay
Scientific Name: Icterus bullockii
Population: 7 million
IUCN Status: Least Concern
Time in Arizona: Migration/breeding

When you see a Bullock’s oriole, you may not think “black bird.” But there’s no denying its black coloring. Its underbody and face are orange, but it has black wings and black along its head and chin.

You can only see these birds in Arizona during the warmer months or when they’re migrating through.

8. Hooded Oriole

Black-hooded Oriole perched on a branch
Image Credit: Butterfly Hunter, Shutterstock
Scientific Name: Icterus cucullatus
Population: 700,000
IUCN Status: Least Concern
Time in Arizona: Breeding

The hooded oriole is an oriole bird that you can see in Arizona during the summer months. It has a pointier beak and longer body than the Bullock’s Oriole, but the overall coloring is similar.

However, with an estimated total population of fewer than 1 million birds, these aren’t exactly the easiest birds to spot in Arizona.

9. Bronzed Cowbird

female Bronzed Cowbird perched
Image Credit: Stubblefield Photography, Shutterstock
Scientific Name: Molothrus aeneus
Population: Unknown
IUCN Status: Least Concern
Time in Arizona: Breeding/year-round

The bronzed cowbird steals the nests of other birds, and if you spot a black bronze cowbird, you found a male. Bronzed cowbirds visit southeastern Arizona during the breeding season, but you can also find them in other parts of the state year-round.

These birds have bright red eyes, and while they’re mainly black, their wings do have tinges of blue and purple throughout as well. While the exact population number of these birds is unknown, their population isn’t declining.

10. Scott’s Oriole

Scott's oriole perched
Image Credit: AZ Outdoor Photography, Shutterstock
Scientific Name: Icterus parisorum
Population: 4.9 million
IUCN Status: Least Concern
Time in Arizona: Breeding

Unlike other orioles that have more orange in their coloring, the Scott’s oriole has a distinct yellow appearance. It’s also far blacker compared to most other oriole birds.

Its entire head is black, as are its chest, tail feathers, and wings. It contrasts sharply with the yellow throughout the rest of its body. You can find these oriole birds in Arizona during the summer months.

11. Western Meadowlark

western meadowlark bird perching
Image Credit: Michael Chatt, Shutterstock
Scientific Name: Sturnella neglecta
Population: 100 million
IUCN Status: Least Concern
Time in Arizona: Year-round/non-breeding

While the western meadowlark does have black coloring on its body, it’s not really a “black bird.” Still, if you only catch a glimpse of them, all you might notice is the black paired with the yellow coloring.

These birds are brown, gray, black, and yellow, and you can find them in portions of Arizona throughout the entire year.

12. Eastern Meadowlark

male Eastern Meadowlark perched
Image Credit: Gualberto Becerra, Shutterstock
Scientific Name: Sturnella magna
Population: 37 million
IUCN Status: Least Concern
Time in Arizona: Year-round/nonbreeding

Few states have both the western meadowlark and the eastern meadowlark, but since Arizona is at the end of both of their ranges, you get to see both birds in the state.

They’re extremely similar looking, but the eastern meadowlarks don’t have a yellow malar region. It’s a small distinction, and unless you know much about birds, you’re not likely to notice the difference when you see them.

13. American Crow

American Crow eating
Image By: JackBulmer, Pixabay
Scientific Name: Corvus brachyrhynchos
Population: 31 million
IUCN Status: Least Concern
Time in Arizona: Year-round

The American crow is a staple of cities across the United States, and Arizona is no different. These large black birds thrive anywhere near humans, and you can typically spot them in cities, suburbs, and even parks.

They live in Arizona year-round, but if you head to the most southern point of the state, they are less common because they don’t typically venture quite that far south, even during the cooler months.


Now that you know more about the different blackbirds in the state, perhaps you can identify exactly what you’re looking at the next time that you see one. If you’re on the hunt for a specific one, now you know what time of year to keep your eyes out for it!

Related Read: 10 Types of Black Birds in Oklahoma (with Pictures)

Featured Image Credit: Danita Delimont, Shutterstock

About the Author Robert Sparks

Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.