BIRDS of THE WORLD - An Online Bird Book
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ICTERIDAE

The Icterids are a group of small to medium-sized, often colorful birds, restricted to the New World. Most species have black as a predominant plumage color, often enlivened by yellow, orange or red. The majority of icterid species live in the tropics, although there are a number of temperate forms. They inhabit a range of habitats, including scrub, swamp, forest, and savannah. Temperate species are migratory. Icterids are variable in size, and often display considerable sexual dimorphism. Their size varies 15-52 cm. One unusual adaptation shared is they can open their bills strongly rather than passively, allowing them to force open gaps to obtain otherwise hidden food. Some use their gaping motion to open the skins of fruit to obtain the soft insides, and have long bills adapted to the process. Others such as cowbirds have shorter stubbier bills for crushing seeds. Orioles will drink nectar. The nesting habits of these birds are similarly variable. [abstracted from Wikipedia]



Cowbirds

Order Passeriformes    Family Icteridae

"True" Cowbirds belong to the genus Molothrus. They feed on mainly insects, and some species frequent cattle to feed off the insects that are stirred up by their hooves. Cowbirds leave their eggs in the nest of non cowbird species. This is problematic for the host species as the cowbird chicks tend to grow faster than their "siblings" and thus can get more than their share of food. On the otherhand, if the host parent removes a cowbird egg from its nest, the cowbird mother might destroy the other eggs!.


Genu  Agelaioides

Cowbird, Bay-winged  also  Grayish Baywing  Agelaioides badius  Found: South America
The Bay-winged Cowbird has ashy-brown plumage upperparts with rufous wings; gray underparts; black lores. Unlike the true cowbirds, this species does not lay its eggs in other's nests..
Similer to: Screaming Cowbird. The Screaming Cowbird is brood parasitic with the Bay-winged Cowbird. This is facilitaed by the eggs and juveniles of the Screaming Cowbird being almost identical in appearance to those of the Bay-winged Cowbird.
Image by: 1) dFaulder at  Costanera Sur Nature Reserve, Buenos Aires, Argentina    2) Charlie Westerinen - Buenos Aires, Argentina  3) Claudio Timm  4) Cristiano Crolle - River Tigre Delta, Argentina



Genus Molothrus

Cowbird, Bronzed  also Red-eyed Cowbird  Molothrus aeneus   Found: North America, Central America
The male Bronzed Cowbird has green-bronze glossy plumage; red eyes. Female has brown plumage.
Similar to: female Brewer's Blackbird. Female Brewer's Blackbird has smaller bill.
Similar to: female Brown-headed Cowbird. Female Bronzed Cowbird has lighter eyes.
Similar to: female Shiny Cowbird. Female Bronzed Cowbird is grayer.
Image by:  1) Jerry Oldenettel - Colorado  2) Pablo Leautaud - Mexico   3, 4) Search Net Media - Arizona  5) menemorice
1, 2) Female 3, 4, 5) Male   


Cowbird, Brown-headed Molothe;Ωrus ater   Found: North America
The male Brown-headed Cowbird has mainly iridescent black plumag; brown head. Female is dull gray with a pale throat.
Similar to: female Brewer's Blackbird. Female Brewer's Blackbird has smaller bill.
Similar to: female Bronzed Cowbird. Female Bronzed Cowbird has lighter eyes.
Similar to: female Shiny Cowbird. Female Brown-headed Cowbird has thicker bill and more rounded head than female Shiny Cowbird.
Image by: 1) James Phelps - Michigan  2) Kelly Azar - Pennsylvania  3, 4) Dick Daniels - Nantucket, Massachuestts  5) Rick Leche      6, 7, 8, 9, 10) Dick Daniels - North Carolina 11) Alan D. Wilson -  British Columbia 
1) Cowbird eggs (the darker ones) in House Finch nest  2, 3, 4) Juvenile  5, 6, 7) Female  8 - 11) Male



Cowbird, Giant
  Molothrus oryzivorus  Found: Mexico, Central and South America
The Giant Cowbird has black plumage; yellow eye; massive black bill. It is brood parasitic, but does not destroy host eggs or chicks.
Image by: 1) Chephas  2) Atastair Rae


Cowbird, Screaming  Molothrus rufoaxillaris  Found: South America
The Screaming Cowbird is black with slightly greenish-blue sheen.
Similer to: Bay-winged Cowbird. The Screaming Cowbird is brood parasitic with the Bay-winged Cowbird. This is facilitaed by the eggs and juveniles of the Screaming Cowbird being almost identical in appearance to those of the Bay-winged Cowbird.
It is found in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay.
Image by:  1) Claudio Timm - Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil  2) Lip Kee - Argentina


Cowbird, Shiny Molothrus bonariensis  Found: south North America to south South America
The male Shiny Cowbird is iridescent blue-purple-black. Female has brown plumage, lighter on the underparts.
Similar to: Brewer's Blackbird. Male Brewer's Blackbird distinguished by its yellow eyes. Female Brewer's Blackbird has smaller bill.
Similar to: Bronzed Cowbird. Male Bronzed cowbird distinguished by its red eyes. Female Bronzed Cowbird is grayer.
Similar to Brown-headed Cowbird. Male Brown-headed Cowbird distinguished by its brown head. Female Brown-headed Cowbird has thicker bill and more rounded head than female Shiny Cowbird.
Similar to: Chestnut-capped Blackbird (female). The female Shiny Cowbird has a longer finer bill and a pale supercilium compared to the female Chestnut-capped Blackbird.
Image by:  1, 4) Barloventomagico - Venezuela  2, 7) Gustavo Duran - Argentina  3) Dario Sanches - Brazil   5) Dick Daniels - Puerto Rico  6) Dick - Lima, Peru  8) Lip Kee - Argentina
1) Shiny Cowbird fledling raised by White-bearded Flycatcher  2, 3) First year  4, 5) Female  6, 7, 8) Male






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