Medium-sized (6-8") bird with black body, really dark brown-blackish top feathers

Perching bird, medium sized (6-8") that initially looked totally black but actually has very dark brown-blackish top feathers with a black body. Seen on winter feeder in northern NJ. Not a grackle, cowbird or starling - no iridescence. Shaped rather like a rusty blackbird, but it isn't. Didn't stay on feeder long enough for picture.

Comments for Medium-sized (6-8") bird with black body, really dark brown-blackish top feathers

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Feb 16, 2015
Medium sized bird NEW
by: John P

Wow, this really is a difficult one to figure out.

Most birds in the size category you have described with those kind of markings would generally fit into the category of a starling a cow bird or possibly even a common grackle.

The grackle however generally has a more irredescent appearance with its body feathers which the bird you spotted apparently does not have.

Starlings are known to have a yellow beak but they also have more of a speckled or blotchy look to them on their body feathers.

Sorry I can't be of more help to you in identifying this bird.

Would be interesting to know what it is if you are ever able to make a positive ID.

John P. - Cottage Grove, MN

Feb 16, 2015
Thanks NEW
by: Anonymous

Thanks for your comment. We do have cowbirds here, but this bird did not have a brown head. The top feathers and head were all the same color, and they were actually darker than a brown-headed cowbird. Is the female coloring more uniform or do they have that distinctive brown head, too?

Feb 15, 2015
Male Cow Bird NEW
by: John P

The bird you are describing fits the description of a male cow bird.

The female is sort of a soft brown and gray color all over and the male is dark black in body with a dark brown head and upper body feathers.

John P - Cottage Grove, MN

Feb 15, 2015
Spotted in NC
by: Anonymous

also I just saw this same bird in NC near Charlotte.. Except it,had a,orange yellowish beak , someone told it possibly could have been a Starling ? But like yours it didn't stay long enough for me to get a picture...

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