I find black animals a challenge to paint. I took a photo of this Red-winged Blackbird a week or so ago.
I used Daniel Smith’s Goethite (Brown Ochre) for the initial wash of the bird as well as in the background. I’ve had this paint in my palette for awhile but haven’t really used it. It’s more black than brown, but I love the granulation. This version is pretty close to the photograph.