Giant Cowbird Molothrus oryzivorus
(aka Scaphidura oryzivora)

Brazilian name: ira├║na-grande

Male Giant Cowbird, Pixaim, Pantanal, Mato Grosso, Brazil, December 2006 - click for larger image Pixaim, Mato Grosso, Brazil
December 2006

The Giant Cowbird male, seen here in photos 1 to 3, is almost entirely purplish-black with a ruff on the neck and a noticeably darker head. The iris varies in colour from red to yellow. The female, as seen in photo 4, is smaller and a duller black and lacks the ruff.

They are more birds of the forest than the Shiny Cowbird (Molothrus bonariensis) largely because, while they are brood parasites, they only lay their eggs in the nests of oropendolas and caciques which are forest-dwelling birds.

Male  Giant Cowbird, Pixaim, Pantanal, Mato Grosso, Brazil, December 2006 - click for larger image They are found from Mexico to Paraguay.

There are recordings and a distribution map on xeno-canto .

There are illustrations in Ridgely & Tudor, Volume 1, Plate 22; and Hilty & Brown, Plate 44.

Male  Giant Cowbird, Pixaim, Pantanal, Mato Grosso, Brazil, December 2006 - click for larger image
Female  Giant Cowbird, Pixaim, Pantanal, Mato Grosso, Brazil, December 2006 - click for larger image
Previous Page Back to Index Next Page

If you do not see a menu on the left, you may have arrived at this page from another site. Please click Home to get to my main page. Fatbirder's Top 1000 Birding Websites