During my recent stroll along the scenic trail at Sunnymede Park in Fort Smith, Arkansas, an intriguing sight caught my eye—a magnificent male Red-winged Blackbird perched on a nearby fence. However, something seemed amiss about its appearance. The usual deep black plumage was unexpectedly intermingled with stunning shades of brown. Intrigued, I seized the opportunity to capture this unusual sight through my camera lens, hoping to unravel the mystery later.

A Male Red-winged Blackbirds Unusual Plumage

A Male Red-winged Blackbirds Unusual Plumage

Upon returning home, I examined the photographs on my computer screen, and my suspicions were confirmed. The colors exhibited by this particular Red-winged Blackbird appeared decidedly unconventional. As clearly depicted in my photograph, the once ebony feathers displayed an unexpected array of browns, while the characteristic red patches on its wings seemed lackluster and subdued. In comparison to the vibrant and intense red hues typically observed during this time of year, this bird’s plumage appeared unusually faded.

It is worth noting that the male Red-winged Blackbird, renowned for its remarkable displays of iridescent feathers, typically boasts a striking combination of deep black and bright scarlet. The vivid red markings on its wings serve as both an alluring attraction to potential mates and a bold territorial display. However, the specific coloration of individual birds can exhibit subtle variations, and this particular male Red-winged Blackbird seemed to possess a more muted and earthy palette, deviating from the expected norm.

Seeing this special Red-winged Blackbird reminded me how amazing and surprising nature can be. It’s incredible how genes, the environment, and even just being an individual can make animals look so different. Even though this bird didn’t look like what I expected, it made me appreciate the beauty of nature even more. I’m really excited to keep taking pictures of fascinating creatures and discover their unique stories and colors.

Gear Used:

  • Camera: Canon EOS R7
  • Lens: Canon RF 100-500 mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM


  • Location: Sunnymede Park, Fort Smith (Arkansas)
  • Date and Time Taken: May 12, 2023 (09:26 A. M.)
  • Exposure Mode: Manual
  • Aperture: f8
  • Shutter speed: 1/800
  • ISO: 1000 (Auto)
  • Exposure Compensation: 0
  • Focal Length: 500 mm

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