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- 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 is only now starting to appear in numbers (2011-2012).
Seven subspecies are found within the range. M.b. minimus is the form that has spread north.
- M. b. minimus
- M. b. cabanisii
- M. b. venezuelensis
- M. b. aequatorialis
- M. b. occidentalis
- M. b. riparius
- M. b. bonariensis
Favours open areas, mostly at lower elevations (at least in the Caribbean)
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, JF. 2011. The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to August 2011. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0801445019. Spreadsheet available at http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/downloadable-clements-checklist
- Neotropical Birds Online
- BirdForum Opus contributors. (2021) Shiny Cowbird. In: BirdForum, the forum for wild birds and birding. Retrieved 14 May 2021 from https://www.birdforum.net/wiki/Shiny_Cowbird