Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Brown-headed Cowbird Molothrus ater

Brown-headed Cowbird Molothrus ater
Cowbirds often congregate with other members of the blackbird family near farms and rangeland, frequently in close association with livestock. Like the related Bronzed Cowbird (M. aeneus), which occurs only in southern Arizona and south Texas, the Brown-headed is a brood parasite; it makes no nest of its own, but lays its eggs in the nests of other species. The young cowbird is usually so much larger than the nestlings of its songbird host that those little birds may starve or be crowded out of the nest.

Identification 6-8". Male iridescent greenish black with deep brown head; females gray-brown; juvenile grav-brovvn with faint streaks on breast and scaly-looking upperparts. Bill black and finchlike in all plumages.

Brown-headed Cowbird Molothrus ater Voice Voice and calls squeaky, bubbly, and high-pitched; female chatters.

Habitat Woodlands, farmlands, fields, and suburbs

Range Breeds throughout most of United States and S. Canada, extending into N. Alberta. Winters in S. United States.

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