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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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Hosts feeding only Brown-headed Cowbird fledglings: where are the host fledglings?
Lower begging responsiveness of host versus parasitic Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater) nestlings is related to species identity but not to early social experience.
Changes in the reproductive activity of the Brown-headed Cowbird within the breeding season.
We prepared taxidermic mounts of two brown-headed cowbirds (male and female) in a perching position.
Behavioral ecology of the brown-headed cowbird in a bison-grazed landscape in New Mexico.
Predator species Incubation Nestling Total Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus 15 15 ater) Raccoon (Procvon lotor) 3 7 10 Cooper's Hawk (Accipiter cooperii) 9 9 American Crow (Coreus 4 1 5 brachyrynchus) Blue Jay (Cvanocitta cristata) 4 4 Red Squirrel (Tamiasciurus 2 2 4 huclsonicus) Eastern Chipmunk (Tamias striates) 2 1 3 Eastern Gray Squirrel (Sciurus 2 2 carolinensis) Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) 2 2 Sharp-shinned Hawk (A.
Only the brown-headed cowbird exhibited significant trends in opposite directions across scales.
The biological models focused on Brown-headed Cowbird parasitism.
This month's cover image, [1] Plate 99 from Birds of America (printed in stages during 1827-1838) by American ornithologist, naturalist, and painter John James Audubon (1785-1851), shows a pair of oft-vilified brown-headed cowbirds.
Cerulean Warblers are known to be occasional Brown-headed Cowbird hosts (Buehler et al.