- Molothrus bonariensis
Male: Shiny black with purple gloss, conical bill (See note under picture)
Female: Grayish brown upperside, lighter brown underside with slight spotting, faint supercilium
Eyes dark brown.
Carib Grackle differs in having pale eye, longer bill, and keel-shaped tail, where tail of Shiny Cowbird is flat
Strangely, the species initially did not become established in or completely circumvented some of the islands in the Lesser Antilles including e.g., Dominica, where it only started to appear in numbers around 2011-2012.
There are 7 subspecies:
- M. b. minimus
L Antilles (n to Martinique), Trinidad, Tobago, Guianas, n Brazil
- M. b. cabanisii
- M. b. venezuelensis
Tropical eastern Colombia and northern Venezuela
- M. b. aequatorialis
Tropical southwestern Colombia to westrn Ecuador and Isla Puna
- M. b. occidentalis
Extreme southwestern Ecuador (Loja) and w Peru (south to Lima)
- M. b. riparius
Tropical eastern Peru (Río Ucayali) to lower Amazon Valley (Para)
- M. b. bonariensis
Favours open areas with some scrub or trees, including agricultural areas and gardens. Favors lower elevations in the Caribbean but also found in higher elevation in the Andes.
This species engages in nest parasitism where the female lays its eggs in the nest of other birds, with 250 different species known to have had eggs placed in their nest and almost 100 of these known to have raised young of Shiny Cowbird. In the Caribbean, there seems to be a preference for members of the icterids such as orioles and blackbirds, but in southern South America many different groups of birds are among the known hosts. Shiny Cowbird has caused a decline in several species, and is one of the reasons that the Yellow-shouldered Blackbird is endangered. During egg laying, it is common that Shiny Cowbird puncture or remove at least one host-species egg from the nest.
- Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2019. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World: v2019. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
- Lowther, P. E. and W. Post (2020). Shiny Cowbird (Molothrus bonariensis), version 1.0. In Birds of the World (S. M. Billerman, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.shicow.01
- BirdForum Opus contributors. (2023) Shiny Cowbird. In: BirdForum, the forum for wild birds and birding. Retrieved 1 December 2023 from https://www.birdforum.net/opus/Shiny_Cowbird
GSearch checked for 2020 platform.1