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Brown-headed Cowbird Identification

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The Four Keys to ID

  • Size & Shape

    Brown-headed Cowbirds are smallish blackbirds, with a shorter tail and thicker head than most other blackbirds. The bill has a distinctive shape: it’s much shorter and thicker-based than other blackbirds', almost finch-like at first glance. In flight, look for the shorter tail.

    Relative Size

    Slightly smaller than a Red-winged Blackbird

    Relative Sizebetween sparrow and robinbetween sparrow and robin

    • Male
      • Length: 7.5-8.7 in (19-22 cm)
      • Weight: 1.5-1.8 oz (42-50 g)
      • Wingspan: 14.2 in (36 cm)
    • Female
      • Length: 6.3-7.9 in (16-20 cm)
      • Weight: 1.3-1.6 oz (38-45 g)
      • Wingspan: 12.6-15.0 in (32-38 cm)