Brown-headed Cowbird

Scientific name: Molothrus ater

One of the more controversial species in North America, the Brown-headed Cowbird’s unusual life history is considered a remarkable adaptation and an opportunity for study by some, while others disdain its lack of parental care for its young or are concerned about the effects it can have on rare species. Whatever one’s opinion, the Brown-headed Cowbird is a fascinating species.

The range of the Brown-headed Cowbird expanded with clearing of eastern forests, providing opportunities to parasitize species not accustomed to it. Brown-headed Cowbirds can live a relatively long time, with the known record being 15 years in the wild.