Shiny Cowbird Molothrus bonariensis

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Icteridae
  • Polytypic: 7 subspecies
  • Authors: Peter E. Lowther

The Shiny Cowbird is a blackbird with a very wide and expanding distribution in South America and the Caribbean.  A brood parasite, the species lays its eggs in the nests of many species of passerines throughout its range, and provides no parental care for eggs or young.  Males are dark glossy purple while females are nondescript medium brown with a weak pale facial bridle.  Shiny Cowbirds usually are associated with open, disturbed areas such as agricultural regions, and often ride on the backs of cattle, horses, and sheep while feeding.


© Paul A. Schwartz

  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding

Recommended Citation

Lowther, P. E. (2011). Shiny Cowbird (Molothrus bonariensis), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.