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Home Backyard Bird Guide America's Top Backyard Birds America's Top Backyard Birds - Western North America Brown-headed Cowbird
Brown-headed Cowbird

Bird Food Preferences

White proso millet

Bird Feeder Preferences



Brown-headed Cowbirds are found year round in the eastern United States and along the west coast.  During summer, they are also found in Canada and the midwest and western United States.  Brown-headed Cowbirds are common in open habitats and along forest edges.

Brown-headed Cowbirds are on average eight inches in length and weigh about 1.5 ounces.  They have short tails and stout bills.  Males have glossy black bodies with dark brown heads, and females are overall brown with fine streaking on their chests.

Brown-headed Cowbirds are known as brood parasites.  Females lay their eggs in a nest of another bird species and do not build their own nests.  Brown-headed Cowbirds have used nests of more than 220 species, and these nests vary in size, shape, and placement.  The host species incubates the cowbird eggs and raises the young.  Females can lay up to 40 eggs per breeding season.

Similar Species

Brewer’s Blackbird, Bronzed Cowbird, Common Grackle, and Red-winged Blackbird



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