Brown-headed Cowbird

About the Brown-headed Cowbird
Also known as: Common Cowbird, Cow Blackbird, Cow Bunting, Cow-pen Bird, Dwarf Cowbird, Eastern Cowbird, Nevada Cowbird

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.

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Details & Statistics

International Names

Related Articles

Bird Term: Brood Parasite

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 »

T-Shirt Tuesday: The Cowbird

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 »

Bonanza Bird #8: The Brown-headed Cowbird

For 18 days we're adding a new Birdorable bird every day as part of our Birdorable Bonanza 2010. Today's bird is the Brown-headed Cowbird! Brown-headed Cowbirds are well-known (and well-disliked!) for being brood parasites....  Read more »

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