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Any of various blackbirds of the genus Molothrus, especially the common North American species M. ater, that lay their eggs in the nests of other birds and are often seen accompanying herds of grazing cattle.

[From their habit of staying with cattle.]


(Animals) any of various American orioles of the genera Molothrus, Tangavius, etc, esp M. ater (common or brown-headed cowbird). They have a dark plumage and short bill



any blackbird of the genera Molothrus and Schapidura, noted for their brood parasitism, esp. the common North American species M. ater.
[1795–1805, Amer.]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.cowbird - North American blackbird that follows cattle and lays eggs in other birds' nestscowbird - North American blackbird that follows cattle and lays eggs in other birds' nests
blackbird, New World blackbird - any bird of the family Icteridae whose male is black or predominantly black
References in classic literature ?
we do like cowbirds and cuckoos, which lay their eggs in nests which other birds have built, and cheer no traveller with their chattering and unmusical notes.
These policies interrupted the natural regeneration of warbler habitat and, in tandem with an influx of parasitic cowbirds, caused the decline of the songbird's population.
Additionally, expansion of agriculture and logging into Michigan brought with it brown-headed cowbirds (Molothrus ater), "nest parasites" that lay eggs in the nests of unsuspecting host birds who then go on to raise the cowbird chicks as their own.
Effects of brown-headed cowbirds on the nesting success of chipping sparrows in southwest Colorado.
2001) and Mason and Bonwell (1993) found similar results with the applications of turpentine, insecticide, mint derivates and methylanthranilate in studies on red- winged blackbirds, brown headed cowbirds and grackle corroborated.
The presence of these nest boxes has strengthened some populations in current years by excluding predators and parasitism from cowbirds that are notorious for sneaking their eggs into warbler nests.
When young male Brown-headed cowbirds are raised in pairs with a female of the other subspecies, they do not learn their own species' song, but rather the song of the female's subspecies.
Schistosomes causing Cercarial dermatitis(swimmer's itch), Coccidia and Sarcocystis are transmit through cranes, owls, ducks, waterfowls, cowbirds, andmallards.
This month's cover image, [1] Plate 99 from Birds of America (printed in stages during 1827-1838) by American ornithologist, naturalist, and painter John James Audubon (1785-1851), shows a pair of oft-vilified brown-headed cowbirds.
Both will attract quail, doves, juncos, sparrows, towhees, cowbirds and red-winged blackbirds.
A previous suggestion of a brood parasite's benefit, reported nearly 50 years ago from giant cowbirds parasitizing oropendola nests in Panama, hasn't stood up to later research, says cuckoo researcher Juan Soler of the Arid Zones Experimental Station in Spain.