Breeding Bobolink males are easy to identify as they are very unusual-looking birds, with white backs, black bellies, and a striking pale yellow patch at the back of their heads that looks like hair!
Females and non-breeding males in their winter plumage are quite different and rather plain in comparison. They are brown-streaked and with dark eyelines and stripes on their crowns.
- Dolichonyx oryzivorus
- Length: 5.9-8.3 in (15-21 cm)
- Weight: 1.0-2.0 oz (29-56 g)
- Wingspan: 10.6 in (27 cm)
Bobolinks travel far from their wintering grounds in inland southern South America to their breeding grounds in northern US states and Canada, a journey of over 12,000 miles (20,000 kilometers). During migration, they can be spotted in eastern US states.
Habitat And Diet
To find Bobolinks head to open grassland during the breeding season, and after breeding, they can be found in marshes and coastal areas.
They can often be spotted perched at the top of plants looking for seeds and or on the ground looking for insects to feed their young.
Bobolinks songs are a speedy mix of different pitches and tones that do not seem to follow a pattern. They also make several short ‘peek’ and ‘check’ calls.
Bobolink nests are on the ground, and the males make splendid displays of singing, flying, and fighting to attract females.
Unfortunately, Bobolinks have declined by 65% since 1966, although the breeding population is 8 million, this is significantly less than it used to be. You can help by only mowing once a year after they have left your grassy fields and meadows.