Brood parasites are birds that rely on other birds, often of a different species, to raise their young. Brood parasitism occurs in organisms other than birds, including fish and insects, but we'll focus on a few well-known bird... Read more »
Brown-headed Cowbirds are small dark birds, related to orioles, grackles and blackbirds. Males have iridescent black bodies with brown heads; females are much duller, with a brownish-grey overall plumage.
Brown-headed Cowbirds are brood parasites. They do not make their own nests; females lay eggs in the nests of other birds. Baby Brown-headed Cowbirds are raised by the host parents; more than 140 different species of birds have been seen raising baby Brown-headed Cowbirds.
Details & Statistics
The Brown-headed Cowbird is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List and was last assessed in 2012 by BirdLife International. This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Cute gifts with this bird
Designs with this bird
Today's highlighted t-shirt design features one of North America's least-liked birds, the Brown-headed Cowbird. Cowbirds have an unusual breeding strategy, living as brood parasites. They lay their eggs in other bird nests and may use mafia-like tactics to keep their eggs safe and ensure the foster parents... Read more »