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Shiny Cowbird?

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Old Sunday 19th October 2003, 16:18   #1
rka
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Shiny Cowbird?

Snapped this one on the outskirts of the Caroni Swamp. Looks like a cowbird. Was 4" long, generally black with clear patches of shiny blue. There were also white feathers. I'll attach another image showing the back of the bird.
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Old Sunday 19th October 2003, 16:19   #2
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OK ... Something has changed here. I can't figure out how to insert an image in a reply. A pity ... the picture of the back clearly showed the blue and white plumage.

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Old Sunday 19th October 2003, 23:12   #3
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Could this be a Blue-black Grassquit ?

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Old Sunday 19th October 2003, 23:39   #4
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Could be. His bill looks much more like a seedeater than the shiny cowbird. Also, 4 inches fits the grassquits. They (males) are typically a very shiny Black, with an almost metallic blue sheen. Not really patches of blue, just the sheen. They do have some white spots that are ocassionally seen.

One real givaway is their behavior. The males rest on a perch, give a chirp and jump vertically upwards about 1 to 2 feet in a display, landing again in the same perch.

We have tons of them here in my area and they are really interesting to watch.
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Old Sunday 19th October 2003, 23:46   #5
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The bird was perched in a tree in a shaded area and didn't jump once in a 15 minute period while I watched it. It was preening and rotating slowly in the same spot.

It made a lot of intermittent noise. I'm not good at describing bird calls ... sorry.

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Old Wednesday 28th April 2004, 10:03   #6
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This bird remains unidentified - anyone able to help - here it is from the back too!

http://www.birdforum.net/attachment....achmentid=3575
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Old Wednesday 28th April 2004, 11:01   #7
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It looks like the blue-black grassquits I see around here.
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Old Friday 30th April 2004, 20:21   #8
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Others already made a perfectly good point and they are completely right, it is indeed a Blue-black Grasquit. It's a male, females are brownish.
Of course it is hard to judge from a photo, but grasquits are quite small birds. Very unlike Blackbirds/Cowbirds/Gracklers from South America (incl. Trinidad), it also has a different bill. Compared to varios other species also note eye-colour, very different short-tailed jizz and the way a few light feathers show through the otherwise glossy plumage. Whatever the case, it is a very different bird from the Shiny Cowbird, and in general I would consider it unlikely to mistake the two for each other (again: Size+jizz!).

Ohh. I almost forgot. The voice of Shiny Cowbird compared with Blue-black Grasquit... we're talking a difference like night and day!

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Old Friday 30th April 2004, 20:34   #9
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Thanks - another one cleared up!
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