Bobolink

The Bobolink is a member of the blackbird family and the only member of its genus. Bobolinks are small songbirds with large, almost flat heads, short necks, and short, broad tails. They have an all-over black face and breast, recognizable white shoulder and back, and a yellow patch on the back of the head. Females and non breeding males are similar in size, but have a pink beak, straw-yellow breast, and yellow and black streaking all over the back and head.
SCIENTIFIC NAME
Dolichonyx oryzivorus
CLASSIFICATION
Bird
LIFE SPAN
1-8 Years
SIZE
6-7 ” | 0.0625-0.125 lbs
STATE CONSERVATION STATUS
  • Priority Species
FEDERAL CONSERVATION STATUS
Least Concern
GAME STATUS
Non-Game
GAME TYPE
None
  1. Washoe
  2. Humboldt
  3. Pershing
  4. Churchill
  5. Mineral
  6. Lyon
  7. Douglas
  8. Carson City
  9. Storey
  1. Elko
  2. Lander
  3. Eureka
  4. White Pine
  1. Esmeralda
  2. Nye
  3. Lincoln
  4. Clark

Habitat & Range

The Bobolink is found in the northeastern portion of the state, and is uncommon across the rest of Nevada. They breed in native grasslands and agraicultural fields.

  • Agricultural Lands
  • Grasslands
  • Marsh

Threats

  • Habitat Loss

Natural History

Bobolinks are ground foragers, feeding on insects in the spring months and providing protein through the form of invertebrates to their young. During the fall and winter, they forage for weed seeds, grains, and oats. These birds are polygamous nesters. One female may raise chicks belonging to several different fathers. Nests are made on the ground at the base of woody vegetation, usually consisting of mud, weeds, and sedges about two inches wide and deep. Raising young is a family effort, with young being fed by the mother, multiple fathers, and older siblings. Bobolinks will migrate long distances to South America, settling in marshes and agricultural lands.

Fun Facts

Bobolinks are common targets for nest parasitism by cowbirds. They are able to use iron oxide in the bristles of their nasal cavities to orient themselves with the earth's magnetic field during migration.