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Related to brown-headed cowbirds: North American cowbird


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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Cerulean Warblers are known to be occasional Brown-headed Cowbird hosts (Buehler et al.
Heavily parasitized by bronzed and brown-headed cowbirds, hooded orioles declined at Santa Ana NWR in the 1950s and 1960s and were extirpated by 1973 (Gehlbach, 1987).
2013) Broad-scale heterogeneity influences nest selection by brown-headed cowbirds.
Among resident passerines, Tufted Titmouse, Northern Cardinal, American Goldfinch, Brown-headed Cowbird, Eastern Towhee, Carolina Chickadee, White-breasted Nuthatch, Carolina Wren, and American Robin were abundant at all three sites.
Brown-headed cowbirds were not common in any category possibly because they may prefer areas disturbed by agricultural practices or residential and recreational human activities as opposed to disturbed patches created from logging (or, in this case logging and military) practices within forested areas (18).
Brown-headed cowbirds are "edge" species that evolved on the North American prairies with bison and various grassland birds.
His research shows lazuli-hunting numbers to be declining, he says, from predation by brown-headed cowbirds.
Ontogeny of social skills: social complexity improves mating and competitive strategies in male Brown-headed Cowbirds.
Predation and brood parasitism by Brown-headed Cowbirds (Molothrus ater) are important factors that negatively affect the reproductive success of grassland songbirds (Davis 2003), but rates vary among species and regions (Woolfenden et al.
Effective landscape management of Brown-headed Cowbirds at Fort Hood, Texas.
To further protect the warblers, biologists annually trap and remove brown-headed cowbirds (Molothrus ater) from the nesting sites.
Fleischer at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu report on the "flight whistles'--songs that flying male birds use to communicate with males and females over long distances--of brown-headed cowbirds in the eastern Sierra Nevada.