Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
HABITAT: Commonly breeds in freshwater marshes of cattail, tule, bulrush, and sage. Roosts in the strips along marshes between rice fields. Feeds and roosts in dense flocks, ranging from 4 to over 20,000 in a colony, throughout the year. In winter, moves through marshes, open cultivated lands, and pastures.
SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Cattail or tule marshes.
NEST: Builds nest of cattails, sedges, grasses, or other aquatic vegetation gathered from the surface or in shallow water, and attached to cattails or twigs in shrubs and blackberry thickets, usually near water. Prefers live emergent vegetation for nesting.
FOOD: Gleans food from the ground and low vegetation; eats insects, spiders, and occasionally small tadpoles and snails. In winter, eats rice and a variety of grain crops.
REFERENCES: Payne 1969.