Louisiana Photo Gallery

Louisiana Birds - April 2009

April 2009 -- Digiscoped images by Joseph Morlan

Bronzed Cowbird (Molothrus aeneus aeneus) 9 April 2009, Grande Island, Jefferson Parish, Louisiana. This relative of our familiar Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater) is confined to the southern states and tropics. Like the Brown-headed Cowbird it is an obligate brood parasite, laying its eggs in the nests of other birds, often to the detriment of the host species. A variety of hosts have been recorded, but the Bronzed Cowbird is said to favor orioles. A recent decline in the number of Northern Cardinals in the New Orleans area has been linked to an increase in Bronzed Cowbirds, but evidence for this is unclear. This species is slightly larger than the Brown-headed Cowbird and is distinguished by its red eyes. Formerly it went under the name "Red-eyed Cowbird." This species has been expanding its range northward and is now locally distributed in Louisiana where it was first recorded in 1961. It has evidently benefited from the clearing of the original native vegetation for agriculture and human settlement. Four subspecies are recognized. This is the nominate race which occurs from Southern Texas to Panama (plus an isolated outlying population in southeastern Louisiana). It differs from other races in its bronzy (not violet) rump. In this population, females are similar to males although smaller and lack the ruff around the neck. I believe this individual is a male. Digiscoped with Panasonic DMC-LZ5 | Nikon FieldScope 3 | 30X WA | hand-held (no adapter)
Joseph Morlan