top of page

Brown-headed Cowbird

(Molothrus ater) - North America

Photo by 





Reproductive Strategy: Brown-headed Cowbirds are obligate brood parasites, which means they rely on other bird species to raise their offspring. They lay their eggs in the nests of various songbirds, shifting the responsibility of incubating and raising their chicks to other species.
Behavior: They are often seen in open habitats, foraging on the ground and in trees. They are typically found in flocks, and their vocalizations include a variety of chirps and whistles.
Vocalizations: Brown-headed Cowbirds have a range of calls, which they use for communication and attracting mates.


Diet: Brown-headed Cowbirds are primarily granivorous, feeding on a variety of seeds, grains, and small invertebrates.
Feeding Behavior: They forage for food on the ground, often following grazing animals to feed on insects stirred up by their movement.

The Brown-headed Cowbird is a small songbird found in North America. It is known for its unique reproductive strategy, as it is a brood parasite, laying its eggs in the nests of other bird species, which then raise its chicks.


Size: Brown-headed Cowbirds are small to medium-sized birds, typically measuring about 17 to 23 cm (6.7 to 9 inches) in length.
Appearance: Males have glossy black plumage with a distinctive brown head, while females have more subdued grayish-brown plumage with streaking. Both sexes have a relatively short, thick bill.


Brown-headed Cowbirds can be found in a wide range of habitats, including open fields, grasslands, woodlands, and both rural and urban environments. They are highly adaptable to various ecosystems.
Nests: They do not build their own nests but instead lay their eggs in the nests of other bird species.

bottom of page