Brown-headed Cowbird: Small blackbird with glossy brown head, heavy bill, and dark eyes. The black body has a faint green sheen. Walks on ground to forage and holds tail cocked over back. Feeds on caterpillars, insects, spiders, fruits, grains and seeds. Swift direct flight with rapid wing beats.
Range and Habitat
Brown-headed Cowbird: Breeds throughout much of southern Canada and the U.S. Spends winters in central and southern parts of breeding range as well as in Florida. Habitat consists of agricultural lands, fields, woodland edges, and suburban areas.
Brown-headed cowbirds are brood parasites. They deposit their eggs in nests belonging to birds of other species. Some of the birds they parasitize remove the eggs from their nests or cover them with new nest material so that they are not incubated.
Historically, cowbirds followed herds of migrating bison to take advantage of the food they kicked up in their wake. They are still associated to an extent with large mammals such as cows.
The cowbird eggs typically hatch earlier than their host’s eggs which gives them a competitive advantage over the other hatchlings.
A group of cowbirds are collectively known as a "corral" and a "herd" of cowbirds.
The Brown-headed Cowbird is native to North America and the Caribbean. It can be found in the United Kingdom and Belize as well. This bird has a range reaching up to 11 million square kilometers. The estimated population of this bird is extensive, believed to be around 56 million individual birds. In 2000, the evaluation of this bird was changed from Lower Risk to Least Concern as a result of his extensive population and range. There is currently no concern for possible population decimation.