Yellow-headed blackbirds are members of the Icteridae family which consists of their smaller cousin the red-winged black bird as well as bobolinks, cowbirds, grackles, meadowlarks, and orioles. They usually breed in the central and western plains region and migrate into the south western United States and Mexico for the winter. During their winter migration they often travel as part of large mixed species flocks.
The prefered breeding habitat of the yellow-headed blackbird are cattail marshes. They often share this habitat with red-winged blackbirds. Since the yellow-heads are larger they often dominate the smaller red-winged blackbirds and take the prime nesting locations for themselves. Males will fiercely defend their breeding territory and may mate with up to eight females nesting within his territory.Nests are built by the female out of vegetation and connected to four our five stalks of cattail, reeds or other marshland vegetation.