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You know, sometimes the males of these species frustrate me as you can get a look at a male that seems ALL black... then you find a little tiny patch of rust on the back...  and solitary birds aren't often singing when I find them so, that adds to the frustration.
But it seems the females give me almost as much trouble. I'm leaning a bit more towards rusty with this one now, even though I originally marked it as brewer's.In the field it seemed VERY VERY plain, too plain to look like a female rusty to me. Oh, this was in NW Arkansas March 27th, 2019.  (either one could be coming through at this point still, though rusty is more common.

Later I looked in a book and saw that brewer's females have darker eyes and I remember the one I saw had light eyes. So just now I was comparing them on all about birds... while looking at my picture. Was mildly frustrated to see that female brewer's can sometimes have light eyes... 
The back of this bird seems a LITTLE rusty-ish but still seems way too plain to me for a normal looking female rusty... well, more-so in the field than looking at pictures after the fact.

So, I'm fairly certain now, as I type this, that this is a rusty. especially after looking at the guide again and seeing the difference in bill shape. Probably can't see it in this picture(I have lots more, this thing was close and didn't seem to mind me) but I can see in most of the pictures that the top of the bill is curved rather than straight like the brewer's...  SO next time I'm out looking at some that I'm unsure of... is it pretty safe to compare bills if I get stuck and can see that shape in the field good enough???  :) 

 

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My guess is that eye color is tough to go by with these... ?  would males be easier to tell apart by eye color?

anyway, I'd love more thoughts but the shape of the bill still points to rusty to me. I'd love to be wrong as that would be a new bird for that location for me. We get some rusty blackbirds there every winter and I'm sure a brewer's has come through there, it's a good spot, but I've so far not been able to pick one out of a crowd if one was there when I was.
Here are some more pictures. You can see in most of these the shape of the bill fairly clearly.

 

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bump...  any other thoughts on this one?
Originally wanted to call it brewer's but that bill has me pretty sure it's a rusty... need other opinions though. 🙂

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I think it looks like a female of either, and the whitish eye eliminates Brewer’s, so I’m gonna say Rusty.

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On 4/11/2019 at 7:31 AM, Trevor L. said:

the whitish eye eliminates Brewer’s, so I’m gonna say Rusty.

I haven't checked the 2nd edition(I should) but Sibley says the occasional female brewer's can have a pale eye. (I mentioned that in my original post) So, I'm not sure that can be used to 100% rule anything out.
Any thoughts on the bill looking too curved to be brewer's? I'm going by the drawn pictures in Sibley's... 

 

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In my experience, female Brewer's are more drab and nondescript, with uniform brown and gray plumage patterning. Rusty have speckles of reddish-brown as this bird does (hence the  name Rusty, as I understand it).

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