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Shiny Cowbird

ID Info
Silhouette BlackbirdsBlackbirds
Shiny CowbirdMolothrus bonariensis
  • ORDER: Passeriformes
  • FAMILY: Icteridae

Basic Description

The velvety, deep purple male Shiny Cowbird is a handsome blackbird; the brownish female closely resembles the Brown-headed Cowbird. This native of South America is a nest parasite—it lays its eggs in the nests of other species and does not raise its own young. In the 20th century, Shiny Cowbirds expanded their range into the Caribbean and reached southern Florida in the mid-1980s. The range expansion of the Shiny Cowbird has raised conservation concerns with some endangered bird species in the Caribbean.

More ID Info
image of range map for Shiny Cowbird
Year-roundBreedingMigrationNonbreeding
Range map provided by Birds of the World
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Find This Bird

Shiny Cowbirds can be tricky to find in the U.S. where they are still uncommon, even in their stronghold of southern Florida. Elsewhere in the southeastern U.S., Shiny Cowbirds are rare but slowly increasing. The town of Flamingo in Everglades National Park has been a reliable place to search for the species, which frequents parks, roadsides, and picnic areas.

Other Names

  • Tordo Renegrido (Spanish)
  • Vacher luisant (French)
  • Cool Facts

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