6-8" (15-20 cm). Male has coffee-brown head and metallic black body. Female is dark brown all over.
Similar Species- Bronzed Cowbird
Calls sound like they are coming from underwater: glug-glug-glee; also a single, high-pitched note and a rattle.
Breeds from northern British Columbia, east across portions of Canada, and south to central Mexico, southern Texas, Gulf Coast, and southern Florida. Winters from northern California, southern New Mexico, Kansas, Great Lakes region, New England, and Nova Scotia, south to southern Baja California, southern Mexico, Gulf Coast, and southern Florida.
Found in woodlands, forests (primarily deciduous), forest edges, city parks, suburban gardens, farms, and ranches. During migration and in winter, also found in open situations, cultivated lands, fields, pastures, and scrub. In Idaho, alteration of sagebrush lands through grazing or agriculture has provided mechanism for cowbirds to parasitize shrub-steppe birds.
Eats mostly insects, but will also eat grain, seeds, and some fruits.
Lays eggs in nests built by other species (I.e., nest parasitism). Forages on ground. Female defends a territory, male does not. gregarious. Forms flocks in fall and winter, sometimes with other species.
|Status:||Protected nongame species|
Rich, T.D. 1978. Cowbird parasitism of Sage and Brewer's Sparrows. Condor 80:348.