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Kidadl Team

AUGUST 05, 2021

Amaze-wing Facts About The Giant Cowbird

Interesting giant cowbirds facts for kids

A beautiful bird, the Giant Cowbird (Molothrus oryzivorus) belongs to the order Passeriformes, family Icteridae and is a large-sized passenger bird. The birds are prominently found in the Caribbean nation, and Trinidad and Tobago. Also, these cowbirds are found in South American countries such as Brazil, Argentina, Peru, Venezuela, and many more.

Unlike other American birds, the giant cowbirds are 11-14 in (28-35 cm) long. The males are comparatively larger than the female giant cowbirds. They have shiny black bodies with long tails, the male giant cowbird has a red iris while the females have a pale-colored iris. Their juveniles or babies are brown-headed.

Like the brown-headed cowbird or other species of cowbirds, these giant passenger birds lay eggs in the nest of oropendolas and caciques passerine birds. The International Union for Conservation of Nature has listed the giant cowbirds in the Least Concern category.

Keep on reading to learn more interesting facts about the Giant Cowbird. If you want to know more exciting information about different animals, check out Hawaiian crow and wren.

Giant Cowbird Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Giant Cowbird?

The Giant Cowbird (Molothrus oryzivorus) are large-sized passenger birds. They primarily prey on grains and small insects. The birds are primarily found in deep forests and islands.

What class of animal does a Giant Cowbird belong to?

The Giant Cowbird (Molothrus oryzivorus) belongs to the class of Aves, order Passeriformes, family Icteridae.

How many Giant Cowbirds are there in the world?

The exact population of the giant cowbirds is not known as of now but research suggests that these birds have a large range and are distributed to a major part of the South American continent and the Caribbean nation.

Where does a Giant Cowbird live?

The Giant Cowbird (Molothrus oryzivorus) is a famous species among American birds. The birds are primarily found in several countries of South America such as Peru, Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela. Also, the giant cowbirds can easily be spotted in Mexico and the Caribbean nation.

What is a Giant Cowbird's habitat?

The giant cowbirds are primarily found in the deep forests and islands. Grasslands and places around rivers also serve as the habitat of the giant cowbird.

Who do Giant Cowbirds live with?

Just like the brown-headed cowbird, most of the giant cowbirds are solitary while some of them live in pairs. During the breeding season, the birds come together. Studies also reveal that the birds are often found with the species of the blackbirds.

How long does a Giant Cowbird live?

No information regarding the giant cowbird lifespan is available as of now but the species of cowbirds generally live for more than 10-15 years in the wild.

How do they reproduce?

The breeding of the giant cowbirds is the same just like the black-tailed gnatcatcher. They are monogamous which means the birds mate with only one partner at a time. During their breeding season, the birds migrate to the countries of South America. Unlike other birds, the female giant cowbirds lay their eggs in the nest of other birds which is known as the giant cowbird parasitism. The male and female cowbirds, unlike most birds of America, are not involved in the construction of the nest. The incubation period lasts for around 13-14 days. Their eggs are either whitish with no spots or pale blue with spots. Their babies are brown-headed.

What is their conservation status?

The International Union for Conservation of Nature has listed the species in the Least Concern category.

Giant Cowbird Fun Facts

What do Giant Cowbirds look like?

The major difference between the brown-headed and giant cowbird is the head, the former has a brown head while the latter has a shiny black head. The Giant South American Cowbird is quite a large and shy species. Unlike the brown-headed cowbird, the bird is not very colorful but has a shiny black body with a long tail which makes the bird alluring. Also, the male bird has a red iris. The species is known for its exceptional mimicry skills. The eggs of giant cowbirds are either whitish with no spots or pale blue with spots.

These rare giant cowbirds facts would make you love them

How cute are they?

Most people do not find this bird cute, but it is quite striking with its black shiny plumage.

How do they communicate?

Like other species of the Icteridae family, the giant cowbird species follow the same methods of communication. They primarily use a song, call notes, and body language to communicate with each other. During the breeding season, males and females attract each other through courtship behavior. The male bird has a vexatious whistle compared to the female bird.

How big is a Giant Cowbird?

As the name suggests, the bird is quite large in size. The average weight and length of the species are 0.3-0.4 lb (138-180 g) and 11-14 in (28-35 cm) respectively. The species is almost twice the weight of the blackbirds while the giant cowbird species is twice the length and thrice the weight of the brown-headed cowbird.

How fast can a Giant Cowbird fly?

No research has been performed on the speed of the species but the bird has a wingspan of more than 14-15 in (35-38 cm).

How much does a Giant Cowbird weigh?

The average weight of the giant species is around 0.3-0.4 lb (138-180 g).

What are their male and female names of the species?

There are no specific names given to the male and female giant cowbird. People generally differentiate the birds from the color of the iris. The male has a red-colored iris.

What would you call a baby Giant Cowbird?

No particular is used to refer to the babies of the species. People generally use terms such as chicks or juveniles to refer to the babies.  

What do they eat?

The species primarily eat seeds, forages, and small insects.

Are they dangerous?

The giant cowbirds are very huge but are not dangerous. They could turn aggressive if someone comes close or tries to provoke them. But research states that the giant cowbirds are not very good with other species. They usually target birds such as sparrows, blackbirds, and eastern towhees to lay their eggs in the nest. But their babies do not kill the juveniles of other birds.

Would they make a good pet?

The answer could theoretically be yes but is probably no as the birds are one of the largest birds found in South America, also they have a glossy black-colored body that makes them so attractive. But these birds are also known for their criminal behavior with other species. Also, these parasitic birds have pushed several species on the verge of extinction. People generally don't consider them pets.

Did you know...

The giant cowbird is known as Tordo Gigante in Spain.

The giant cowbirds found in Brazil generally sit on the back of the capybaras to remove the horseflies.

Naming the Giant Cowbird

Almost every species of the cowbird generally settles on the back of cattle or cows to get their food. These birds also have the advantage of their dark-colored body. The giant cowbird is quite large compared to the other species, hence the name giant cowbird was given to the bird.

Why do Giant Cowbirds puff up?

Unlike other species, the giant cowbirds generally puff out their chests in an attempt to impress the female birds. During the breeding season, they spread the long wings, puff out their chests, and murmur loudly to gain the attention of the female giant cowbirds.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds including the Myna bird, or great tit.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our Giant cowbird coloring pages.

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