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Help develop a Bird ID tool!

Shiny Cowbird

Molothrus bonariensis ORDER: PASSERIFORMES FAMILY: ICTERIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

A common bird throughout much of South America, the Shiny Cowbird only recently spread through the Caribbean and into the United States. A nest parasite like other cowbirds, its spread has imperiled a number of endangered bird species in the Caribbean and raised conservation concerns in the United States.

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Appearance

Blackbirds
Blackbirds
Typical Voice

Adult Description

  • Medium-sized songbird.
  • Medium-long tail.
  • Bill pointed.
  • Male entirely shiny black.
  • Female dull gray-brown.

Male Description

Entirely glossy blue-black or purplish black. Wings and tail glossy greenish blue.

Female Description

Dull grayish brown above, paler below. Bill blackish gray. Eyes dark. Legs blackish.

Immature Description

Similar to female, but with faint streaks on chest.

Range Map Help

Shiny Cowbird Range Map
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Field MarksHelp

  • Male

    Shiny Cowbird

    Male
    • © Herbert Clarke / CLO
  • Female

    Shiny Cowbird

    Female
    • © Herbert Clarke / CLO

Similar Species

  • Male Bronzed Cowbird is larger and has bronzy iridescence, red eyes, and ruffled neck feathers. Female is grayer with a heavier bill.
  • Male Brown-headed Cowbird has brown head and thicker bill. Female has thicker bill, slightly more rounded head, longer tail, and paler throat.
  • Rusty and Brewer's blackbirds have pale eyes.