Scientific Name: Dolichonyx oryzivorus
The bobolink is an exceptional migrant, completing a round-trip of 12,500 miles every year. This bird spends the breeding months in North American grasslands and meadows, then travels south to the rice fields of Argentina, Bolivia and Paraguay for the winter.
Refuges where the Bobolink can be found:
- Des Lacs National Wildlife Refuge
- Northern Tallgrass Prairie National Wildlife Refuge
- Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge
- Toppenish National Wildlife Refuge
- Union Slough National Wildlife Refuge
- Parker River National Wildlife Refuge
Although populations once thrived as farmers felled forests to create pastures and fields favored by these birds, today bobolinks are in decline. Pesticides, climate change and habitat loss all pose threats to this species.
The bobolink is a medium-sized songbird with a short, pointed tail. Its distinctive yellow head and white-streaked back sets this bird apart from its relatives. Bobolinks are social creatures and nest in a loose colony called a chain. They build their small nest on the ground in thick, tall grass. A female typically lays three to seven eggs and incubates them for 11 to 13 days. These birds are polygamous, and a male will only help his primary female with feeding their young. Bobolinks are seed-eaters that favor rice, weed seeds and other grains. Named for their beautiful song, bobolinks call in a bubbly series of twitters and beeps.
What NWRA is doing:
Beyond the Boundaries: Connecticut River Watershed
Help Us Protect the Connecticut River Watershed where the bobolink and many other species live. The Connecticut River Watershed is part of our Beyond the Boundaries program. Stretching 410 miles from its source in the Northern Forest to its mouth at Long Island Sound, the Connecticut River is the longest river in New England, and its large watershed contains habitat important to the bobolink and many other birds, fish and animals. Learn more.