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Brown-headed Cowbird, Molothrus ater



The Brown-headed Cowbird is the only parasitic bird in Minnesota. It lays all its egg in "host" birds' nests, leaving other birds to raise its young, often at the expense of the hosts' young. The male is glossy black with a chocolate brown head and a pointed sharp gray bill. The female (above) is a dull brown-gray bird with a long, pointed, sharp gray bill.


Brown-Headed Cowbirds were observed flying throughout the Nature Area.


Habitats this bird is normally found in include farms, fields, barnyards, roadsides, wood edges and river groves.


The geographic range is from south Canada to north Mexico. In the northern states, the bird will migrate to the southern states in the winter.


Brown-Headed Cowbirds feed on insects and seeds.


2002. Laurie Hanson.





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The contents of this page have not been reviewed by ARCC.

Last Updated -August 12, 2016

Comments or Problems contact:

Melanie Waite-Altringer or Joan McKearnan or Terry Teppen