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New World bird of the blackbird and oriole (hangnest) family. The male eastern, or common, cowbird is glossy black, about 8 in. (20 cm) long, with a brown head and breast; the female is gray. Most cowbirds lay their eggs in the nests of smaller bird species, victimizing especially vireos, sparrows, and flycatchers. Sometimes the alien egg is ejected or buried under a new nest floor or the nest is abandoned, but usually the host bird incubates the egg and feeds the voracious intruder while its smaller offspring are starved or crowded out. Cowbirds eat seeds but feed chiefly on insects, following behind grazing cattle in order to capture the insects stirred up in this way—hence the name cowbird and the earlier name buffalo bird. Related birds are the bronzed, the California, the dwarf, the Nevada, and the red-eyed cowbirds. Cowbirds are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Passeriformes, family Icteridae.
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While other studies in the central United States have reported relatively high abundances of brown-headed cowbirds (Cully and Winter 2000, Powell 2008, Rahmig et al.
Although rates of brood parasitism by brown-headed cowbirds (Molothrus ater) are high in some warbler species (Ortega, 1998), there are relatively few published accounts with yellow-throated warblers as the host.
The species' recovery program, which has focused on adaptive jack pine management, brown-headed cowbird trapping, population monitoring, public education and research, has been extraordinarily effective.
Bohm Woods exhibited the lowest Brown-headed Cowbird density of the three forest patches (Table 4).
Unfortunately, Brown-headed Cowbird, a nest parasite native to American grasslands but invasive in fragmented forests, was found along all transects, as a possible (3 transects), probable (3 transects), or confirmed (2 transects) breeder.
Birds in the Glendale Narrows include pied-billed grebe, mallard, cinnamon teal, American coot, killdeer, black phoebe, barn swallow, common raven, common yellowthroat, song sparrow, red-winged blackbird, brown-headed cowbird and northern red bishop.
Common name Genus and species Canada Goose Branta canadensis Mallard Anas platyrhynchos Bufflehead Bucephala albeola Red-breasted Merganser Mergus serrator American Coot Fulica americana American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos Cedar Waxwing Bombycilla cedrorum Northern Shrike Lanius excubitor American Tree Sparrow Spizella arborea Dark-eyed Junco Junco hyemalis Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus Common Grackle Quiscalus quiscula Brown-headed Cowbird Molothrus ater Common Redpoll Carduelis flammea American Goldfinch Carduelis ristis Table 2 Winter resident bird species in the Grand Calumet River corridor.
During visits, we recorded the number of host eggs and young, number of brown-headed cowbird eggs and young, approximate developmental stage of young, parental behavior, and described any nest disturbance.
In the Lower Rio Grande Valley (LRGV) of southern Texas, the 54-g bronzed cowbird (Molothrus aeneus) greatly outnumbers the 36-g brown-headed cowbird (Molothrus ater, Gehlbach, 1987; Brush, 2005).
For example, brood parasitism by the Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater) and nest predation may be high in small woodlots and grasslands resulting in reduced nest productivity (Burke and Nol 2000; Herkert et al.