This website provides information on the tricolored blackbird (Agelaius tricolor), a near-endemic California passerine and the most colonial songbird in North America. We seek to develop a site with content appropriate for the largest audience, with basic natural history and conservation information, access to reports, images and videos, links to tricolors in the news, summaries of past and current research and monitoring efforts, and data entry capability for participants in the triennial tricolored blackbird survey (an every three year volunteer effort to estimate the number of tricolors in California) and persons observing color-banded tricolors.

2017 Statewide Survey April 7-9


The 2017 Tricolored Blackbird Statewide Survey will be conducted over three days - April 7th through the 9th, 2017. In case of severe weather, the Survey will occur over the weekend of April 21st through the 23rd. This year's statewide survey is especially important due to the recent steep decline in abundance of the species and because the results of this year's survey will help the Department of Fish and Wildlife to assess the bird's status and may play a large role in justifying the Department's recommendation to the Fish and Game Commission on whether to list the species under the California Endangered Species Act.

This year's survey is being coordinated by Dr. Bob Meese, U.C. Davis. As with the 3 prior statewide surveys, the 2017 statewide survey utilizes local experts who serve as county coordinators to assemble survey teams, to ensure coverage, and to enter records of observations when the survey is complete.

CDFW Seeks Public Comment on Formal Status Review by June 1, 2016.


Today the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) issued an appeal for public comment on a proposal to list the Tricolored Blackbird as a threatened or endangered species. CDFW is soliciting public comment regarding the species’ ecology, biology, life history, distribution, abundance, threats and habitat that may be essential for the species, as well as recommendations for management of the species. Comments, data and other information can be submitted by email to If submitting comments by email, please include “Tricolored Blackbird” in the subject heading.

Comments may also be submitted by regular mail to:

California Department of Fish and Wildlife
Nongame Wildlife Program
Attn: Neil Clipperton
1812 Ninth St.
Sacramento, CA 95811

All comments received by June 1, 2016 will be evaluated prior to submission of the CDFW report to the Commission.

California Fish and Game Commission Advances Tricolored Blackbird to Candidacy under CESA


At its December 10, 2015 meeting, the California Fish and Game Commission (Commission) voted 3-1 to advance the Tricolored Blackbird to candidacy under the California Endangered Species Act, triggering a 12-month period during which the California Department of Fish and Wildlife will conduct a status review to inform the Commission’s subsequent decision on whether to list the species as threatened or endangered. As a candidate species, the Tricolored Blackbird receives the same legal protection afforded to an endangered or threatened species (Fish & Game Code, § 2085).

State Endangered Status Allowed to Expire


Today the California Fish and Game Commission voted 2-1 to allow the emergency protection of the tricolored blackbird to expire by not recommending a full review by the Department of Fish and Wildlife of the status of the species.

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Announces 90 Day Finding


Today, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service announced a 90 day finding of a petition filed by the Center for Biological Diversity to place the Tricolored Blackbird on the Endangered Species List.

The finding states: "Based on our review of the petition and sources cited in the petition, we find that the petition presents substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that the petitioned action may be warranted for the tricolored blackbird (Agelaius tricolor) based on Factors A, C, D, and E. However, during our status review, we will thoroughly evaluate all potential threats to the species. Thus, for the tricolored blackbird, the Service requests information on the five listing factors under section 4(a)(1) of the Act, including the factors identified in this finding (see Request for Information for Status Reviews, above)."

The public may submit comments to the Service by midnight November 17, 2015 regarding the status of the tricolored blackbird by one of two methods:

C.B.D. Petitions U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service for Emergency Listing of Tricolored Blackbird as Endangered under E.S.A.


Today the Center for Biological Diversity petitioned the Secretary of the Interior to list the tricolored blackbird as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. The Center cited the recent steep population decline as documented in the most recent statewide surveys conducted in 2008, 2011, and 2014 as evidence for the need for federal protection.

Tricolored Blackbirds Get Emergency Protection Under California Endangered Species Act


This morning, the California Fish and Game Commission voted 3-2 to grant emergency protections to the Tricolored Blackbird. The Commission's action grants a 180-day period for the Department of Fish and Wildlife to determine whether to make the protections permanent.

The Commission was responding to a lawsuit filed by the Center for Biological Diversity in October, 2014.

Center for Biological Diversity Files Emergency Listing Petition


The Center for Biological Diversity on Wednesday, October 8, 2014 filed an emergency petition to protect the tricolored blackbird as endangered under the California Endangered Species Act. The Center cited the numerous threats faced by tricolored blackbirds and the dramatic decline documented most recently in this year's Statewide Survey. The Center's petition listed losses of native habitats, including wetlands, grasslands and shrublands, to agriculture, urbanization, market hunting and shooting in autumn when tricolors forage in mixed flocks on ripening rice with red-winged blackbirds, pesticide use, and harvest of grain fields while eggs and young are in the nests as among the factors resulting in the decline. The losses of native habitats and widespread pesticide use are the most likely causes of the chronic low productivity of the species, and the continuing severe drought is likely further stressing the species.

2014 Statewide Survey Final Report Released


The 2014 Statewide Survey Final Report was released on July 31, 2014.

This report contains the results of the 2014 Statewide Survey, comparisons to past statewide surveys, and conservation recommendations.

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