Bobolink- Dolichonyx oryzivorus
During breeding season, the Bobolink is the only American bird that is black underneath and white on its back. It also has a light yellow patch on the back of its head. After breeding season is over, the male molts and grows new feathers. During this time, both the male and female are yellowish brown with black stripes on the head and back.
The Bobolink spends the summer in central and northeast United States. In the winter, it migrates to South America, settling in parts of Bolivia, Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil. During its long migration, it can found throughout parts of South America, the Caribbean and southern United States.
An omnivore, the Bobolink feeds on the ground, eating seeds, grains, insects and spiders. Although it usually feeds during the day, during migration the Bobolink has been observed feeding in rice fields after dark on bright nights. Scientists believe it eats at night during this time to build up fat stores for the long journey.
The Bobolink uses grass and sedges to build a nest on the ground. Sometimes, it crafts a canopy out of dead grass over the top of the nest for additional camouflage. The female lays 1-7 bluish-gray eggs, which she incubates for 11-13 days. After hatching, the chicks wait about two weeks before first leaving the nest.
Audio Credit: xeno-canto.org Johnathon Jongsma