Perching

Brown-headed Cowbird

Molothrus ater
Brown-headed Cowbird thumbnail
Length: 8 in. (19 cm )
Occupying open forested habitats of all types, the Brown-headed Cowbird is a common species. It is most famous because it does not make a nest. Instead the sneaky female cowbird stakes out the nest of a blackbird, warbler, flycatcher, vireo or any of a multitude of other species and lays an egg in the owner\'s nest while the parents are away. The host species then raises the young cowbird as one of their own, even though their own young may suffer malnutrition trying to compete with the faster-growing and larger cowbird parasite. Brown-headed Cowbirds feed on seeds and in the summer insects, which they often catch in cow pastures. As the cattle meander through the pasture, their large hooves scare up insects from the grass, and the cowbirds catch them before they escape. Cowbirds have benefitted greatly from clearing of forest and introduction of cattle. \r\n

The four-digit banding code is BHCO.


Agricultural

Mesquite bosque

Riparian / River forest

Savanna

Shrubs

Urban city
Bird Sound Type: Electronic
Sex of Bird: Male
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Bird Sound Type: Electronic
Sex of Bird: Male
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View Citation

You may need to edit author's name to meet the style formats, which are in most cases "Last name, First name."

Bibliographic details:

  • Article: Brown-headed Cowbird
  • Author(s): Dr. Biology
  • Publisher: Arizona State University School of Life Sciences Ask A Biologist
  • Site name: ASU - Ask A Biologist
  • Date published: July 13, 2017
  • Date accessed: June 23, 2018
  • Link: https://askabiologist.asu.edu/activities/bird/brown-headed-cowbird

APA Style

Dr. Biology. (2017, July 13). Brown-headed Cowbird. ASU - Ask A Biologist. Retrieved June 23, 2018 from https://askabiologist.asu.edu/activities/bird/brown-headed-cowbird

American Psychological Association. For more info, see http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/10/

Chicago Manual of Style

Dr. Biology. "Brown-headed Cowbird". ASU - Ask A Biologist. 13 July, 2017. https://askabiologist.asu.edu/activities/bird/brown-headed-cowbird

MLA 2017 Style

Dr. Biology. "Brown-headed Cowbird". ASU - Ask A Biologist. 13 Jul 2017. ASU - Ask A Biologist, Web. 23 Jun 2018. https://askabiologist.asu.edu/activities/bird/brown-headed-cowbird

Modern Language Association, 7th Ed. For more info, see http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/08/
Face of a baby sticking his tongue out
Are different races subspecies?

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