Bird field guide > Bird identification [C-D] > Cowbird bird pictures

Cowbird bird pictures


Cowbird bird picturesCOWBIRD
495. Molothrus ater. 7.75 inches

Male glossy greenish black, with a brown head; female and young, dull gray.

Groups of these birds are often seen walking sedately about among the cows in the pasture, hence their name.

They are the only birds that we have that neither make a nest of their own nor care for their young. The female slyly deposits her egg in the nest of a smaller bird when the owner is absent, leaving further care of it to its new owner. Warblers, Sparrows, and Vireos seem to be most imposed upon in this manner.

Notes. - A low "chack," and by the male a liquid, wiry squeak accompanied by a spreading of the wings and tail.

Range. - U.S., chiefly east of the Rockies, breeding from the Gulf to Manitoba and New Brunswick; winters in southern U.S. A sub-species, the Dwarf Cowbird (obscurus), is found in southwestern United States; it is slightly smaller.