Saturday, March 9, 2013

Giant Cowbird

Molothrus oryzivorus
The Giant Cowbird is indeed a large bird... at least when you compare it to other members of its genus. They can grow well over a foot long, dwarfing the 8 or so inches that the others reach.

Like it's relatives though, the giant Cowbird does practice brood parasitism. They lay their eggs in the nests of other bird species-- typically Oropendolas and Caciques. It can be rough finding a suitable nest to lay in, as their host birds tend to nest in very large group and can be quite aggressive about their territory.

There is a difference between the male and female Giant Cowbirds. The males are just a few inches longer in body size, and their feathers are more iridescent. They also sport a neck ruff that is absent in females.

Many other Cowbirds do, in fact, ride along on cows while in search of insect meals. Not this Cowbird! They are not often found on Cattle, but in some places you can see them riding on Capybaras!

IUCN Status : Least Concern
Location : South and Central America
Size : Length up to 14in (36cm)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Aves -- Order : Passeriformes
Family : Icteridae -- Genus : Molothrus -- Species : M. oryzivorus
Image : S. Romany

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