Living Bird Magazine
Shiny CowbirdMolothrus bonariensis
- ORDER: Passeriformes
- FAMILY: Icteridae
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.More ID Info
- Tordo Sudamericano (Spanish)
- Vacher luisant (French)
- Cool Facts
- The Shiny Cowbird first reached the United States in 1985 when a single male was seen in the Florida Keys. By the early 1990s they were considered permanent residents in southern Florida. In the next few years individual Shiny Cowbirds were seen as far away as Maine and Nova Scotia.
- The Shiny Cowbird began expanding its range out of South America around 1900. Its spread was assisted by the removal of natural forest cover on Caribbean islands.
- The Shiny Cowbird is a widespread species in South America, and seven different subspecies have been described. The northern form, the one that made it to Florida, is the smallest.