(redirected from Cowbirds)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus.


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.
..... Click the link for more information.
, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Passeriformes, family Icteridae.
Mentioned in ?
References in periodicals archive ?
Despite the fact that 97% of cowbird eggs and nestlings do not survive to adulthood, brood parasitism by cowbirds has pushed birds of some host species to the status of "endangered" and has probably hurt populations of birds of some other host species.
Cerulean Warblers are known to be occasional Brown-headed Cowbird hosts (Buehler et al.
Two hypotheses have been proposed to describe how cowbirds are thought to locate nests.
Even with parasitic cowbirds, "which are sometimes mistakenly cited as examples of parasites that are not very harmful," he says, hosts nearly always lose all of their young because cowbirds outcompete the host chicks.
Furthermore, the high abundances of brownheaded cowbirds at our study sites may be of concern within the framework of bird conservation within this region.
The team found an extinct cowbird, Pandanaris convexa, the most common bird found at the fossil site called Terapa, in Sonora, Mexico, about 150 miles south of Arizona.
coli O157:H7 was present in samples from two cowbirds, a pair of coyotes, five crows, one deer mouse, and 10 feral pigs.
COWBIRD 1: (About to heave an egg at the other animals) An informer
Cowbirds deposit their eggs into the nests of other bird species which then raise the "freeloaders," so just like a tapeworm, the quintessential parasite, a cowbird drains food away from its host species.
NEWS emerged last week that brown-headed cowbird, a North American species, could be added to the list of birds seen in Wales.
from the Florida Everglades, spotting a crested caracara by car, through Michigan, where efforts to protect the Kirtland's warbler involve the killing of "buckets" of cowbirds by hand.