A Bobolink is a fun bird to see while bird watching. Below are some tips to help you identify Bobolinks. We have also put together a list of fun Bobolink t-shirts, Bobolink bird patches, bird houses, bird feeders, binoculars, stickers and other fun bird watching items.
About the Bobolink
The male Bobolinks deliver a melodious song with sharp metallic tones in the summer. During fall, these North American birds molt into a stripped brown appearance resembling the female counterpart. They are easier to spot in grasslands and overgrown pastures. They are one of the most stellar songbird migrants in the world. Some of their distinctive features include:
Description and Identification
They are small songbirds with short tails and flatheads. Their tail feathers that are sharply pointed and short finch-like bills, by late summer the male birds moult into a stripped brown appearance resembling the female counterpart. Adult males are black with creamy napes and white scapulars, lower backs, and rumps. Adult females are light brown, with black streaks on the back and flanks, and dark stripes on the head; their wings and tails are darker Breeding males are primarily black with white upperparts. They have a white rump and buff nape, their wings have white patches. Non-breeding males and females are buffy brown with dark brown streaks on their back and flanks and have a pinkish bill. Adults are 16–18 cm long and weigh about 1 oz.
Bobolink Color Pattern
Breeding males are primarily black with white upperparts. They have a white rump and buff nape. Their wings have white patches. Non-breeding males and females are buffy brown with dark brown streaks on their back and flanks. They have a pinkish bill.
These are small songbirds with short tails and neck and flatheads. Their tail feathers are sharply pointed and the bill too.
The relative size of both sexes
- Length range: 5.9-8.3 in (15-21 cm)
- Weight: 1.0-2.0 oz (29-56 g)
- Wingspan range: 10.6 in (27 cm)
Bobolink males fly low just above the grass level in spring. They rapidly flutter their wings as they sing their melodious songs. They spend much of their time hidden under grass or hunched to seed heads. They at times forage on the ground looking for insects.
What Bobolink Eat and Their Food
The Bobolinks diet is mainly made up of insects and seeds, they forage on or near the ground or areas low in vegetation. In summer they feed on insects including beetles, grasshoppers, caterpillars, wasps, ants, spiders and millipedes. They also feed on seeds of grasses, weeds, and other plants. During the breeding season, these birds eat seeds and a variety of larval and adult insects and spiders, as well as snails. Young birds are fed invertebrates, as they need the protein to grow quickly. While migrating, Bobolinks become almost entirely granivorous, feeding on wild and domesticated rice, sorghum, oats, and other grains. During winter, along with the grains and insects they also feed on some berries. They are nicknamed the “armyworm bird” because of their predation on armyworm moths
Their diet is made up of mostly insects and seeds. In the summer they feed on insects such as wasps, beetles, caterpillars, grasshoppers, etc. also feed heavily on seeds of grasses, weeds, and other plants. During migration, they mostly feed on seeds. Traditionally, they caused extensive damage to rice fields when migrating.
Where Bobolinks Live and Their Habitat
The Bobolink breeds in open fields, preferably those with grasses and broad-lived plants, native grasslands, tallgrass prairie, open meadows and hayfields and agricultural fields. While moulting and on migration, they are found in marshes and in agricultural fields, particularly rice fields and brood in coastal areas.
Bobolinks breed in open fields, preferably those with grasses and broad-lived plants, in the northern United States and southern Canada. Even though they initially nested in the tall grass of southern Canada and the southwest United States, you can find them in the hayfields of eastern United States. They brood in coastal areas and winter in South America.
Range and Migration
The Bobolinks are long-distance migrating birds. These birds breed in native grasslands and agricultural fields across southern Canada and in the United States from eastern Washington and Oregon through the upper Midwest, to the northeastern states. Bobolinks travel about 12,500 miles round-trip every year. From their northern breeding grounds, they fly in groups through Florida and across the Gulf of Mexico toward their wintering grounds in South America. After the breeding season, Bobolinks begin to gather in flocks and move to freshwater marshes and coastal areas to moult and fatten up before migrating.
Male Bobolinks arrive on the breeding grounds ahead of the females and compete for territories through fluttering, hovering flight displays and complex, rollicking, bubbly, twangy songs. The nest is placed on the ground, well hidden among dense grass and weeds. The typical ground nest is a slight depression holding a shallow open cup of grass and weed stems, lined with finer grasses. Both parents tend to their young, sometimes with a third Bobolink helping, this is a bird that may be offspring from the previous year or an adult that lost its brood. The young leave the nest about eight to fourteen days after hatching and stay hidden until they are able to fly. Bobolinks raise only one brood per year.
The females lay 5-6 eggs and incubate them for 11-13 days. Both parents feed the nestlings after hatching and the young ones leave the nest 8-14 days after hatching. They have a 5-year lifespan in the wild.
Bird Watching Academy & Camp Subscription Boxes
At Bird Watching Academy & Camp we help kids, youth, and adults get excited and involved in bird watching. We have several monthly subscription boxes that you can subscribe to. Our monthly subscription boxes help kids, youth, and adults learn about birds, bird watching, and bird conservation.
Bird Watching Binoculars for Identifying Bobolinks
The most common types of bird watching binoculars for viewing Bobolinks are 8×21 binoculars and 10×42 binoculars. Bird Watching Academy & Camp sells really nice 8×21 binoculars and 10×42 binoculars. You can view and purchase them here.
If you love the Bobolink you should purchase a Bird Watching Academy & Camp T-shirt. To help support bird conservation we donate 10 percent to bird conservation activities.
Bobolink Iron On Patches
Kids, Youth, and Adults love to collect our Bird Watching Academy & Camp iron on patches. Our bird watching patches help you keep track of the birds you have seen an identified. You can also display the patches on our Bird Watching Academy & Camp banners.
The Bobolink is a great iron on patch to start your collection with. The patches are durable and can be sewn on or ironed on to just about anything.
Stickers are a great way for you to display your love for bird watching and the Bobolink. We sell a monthly subscription sticker pack. The sticker packs have 12 bird stickers. These sticker packs will help your kids learn new birds every month.
Bird Feeders For Bobolink
There are many types of bird feeders. Here are our favorite bird feeders for your backyard. We use all of these bird feeders currently. Kids will have a great time watching birds eat at these bird feeders. Using this collection of bird feeders will provide a wide variety and many types of birds.
Best Bird Houses for Bobolink
There are many types of bird houses. Building a bird house is always fun but can be frustrating. These 4 bird houses have become our favorites. Getting a bird house for kids to watch birds grow is always fun. We spent a little extra money on these bird houses but they have been worth the higher price and look great.