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Overview

Distribution

occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

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National Distribution

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

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Global Range: RESIDENT: from extreme southeastern California, western and central Arizona, southwestern New Mexico, western Chihuahua, and western and southern Texas south to Panama; locally uncommon to fairly common in coastal Caribbean Colombia in northern Magdalena (Ridgely and Tudor 1989). Northern populations partially migratory.

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Physical Description

Size

Length: 22 cm

Weight: 67 grams

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Ecology

Habitat

Comments: Open country, ranches, roadside thickets, open woods, parks, orchards, pastures, around human habitation, open areas and fields with scattered bushes and low trees. BREEDING: Lays eggs in nests of other species; see Carter (1986) and Clotfelter and Brush (1995, Condor 97:814-815) for hosts in southern Texas, Stiles and Skutch (1989) for hosts in Costa Rica.

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Habitat and Ecology

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Migration

Non-Migrant: Yes. At least some populations of this species do not make significant seasonal migrations. Juvenile dispersal is not considered a migration.

Locally Migrant: Yes. At least some populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).

Locally Migrant: Yes. At least some populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.

Partially migratory in part of northernmost breeding range.

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Trophic Strategy

Comments: Eats insects, grain, seeds; forages in open fields and pastures, often associated with cattle, from the skin of which insects and parasites may be obtained (Terres 1980).

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General Ecology

Females pierce eggs of host and previously laid cowbird eggs (Carter 1986).

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Life History and Behavior

Life Expectancy

Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

Observations: Little is known about the longevity of these animals, though they have been reported to live up to 6 years (http://www.pwrc.usgs.gov/BBL/homepage/longvrec.htm). Considering the longevity of similar species, maximum longevity could be significantly underestimated.
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Reproduction

Lays eggs (usually 1 per nest) in nests of various bird species (Carter 1986, Stiles and Skutch 1989). Incubation 12-13 days, by host. Young leaves nest at about 11 days, fed by host for additional 2 weeks.

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Molothrus aeneus

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


There are 7 barcode sequences available from BOLD and GenBank.  Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.  See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.

CCTATACCTAATTTTCGGTGCATGAGCCGGAATGGTAGGTACCGCTCTAAGCCTCCTCATTCGAGCAGAACTAGGCCAACCTGGAGCCCTTCTAGGAGACGATCAAGTCTACAACGTAGTTGTCACGGCCCATGCTTTCGTAATAATCTTCTTCATAGTTATACCGATTATGATCGGAGGGTTCGGAAACTGACTAGTACCCCTAATAATCGGAGCCCCAGATATGGCATTCCCACGAATAAATAACATAAGCTTCTGACTACTTCCCCCATCCTTCCTCCTCCTCCTGGCATCTTCCACGGTTGAGGCAGGTGTAGGCACAGGCTGAACAGTATACCCCCCACTAGCAGGCAACCTAGCTCACGCCGGAGCCTCAGTCGACCTCGCAATTTTCTCACTGCATCTAGCCGGTATCTCTTCAATCCTAGGAGCAATCAACTTTATTACAACAGCAGTCAACATAAAACCACCTGCCCTGTCACAATACCAAACCCCCCTATTCGTTTGATCCGTCCTAATCACTGCAGTACTATTACTTCTATCCCTCCCAGTCCTTGCCGCAGGAATTACAATGCTTCTCACAGACCGCAACCTTAACACCACATTCTTCGATCCTGCCGGAGGAGGAGACCCTGTACTGTACCAACACCTGTTCTGATTCTTTGGCCACCCAGAAGTNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN
-- end --

Download FASTA File
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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Molothrus aeneus

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 8
Specimens with Barcodes: 9
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N4N,N5B : N4N: Apparently Secure - Nonbreeding, N5B: Secure - Breeding

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

Reasons: Widespread and common in agricultural areas.

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IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2012

Assessor/s
BirdLife International

Reviewer/s
Butchart, S. & Symes, A.

Contributor/s

Justification
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
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Population

Population Trend
Stable
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Wikipedia

Bronzed Cowbird

The bronzed cowbird (once known as the red-eyed cowbird), (Molothrus aeneus), is a small icterid.

It breeds from the southern U.S. states of California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Louisiana south through Central America to Panama. An isolated population on the Caribbean coast of Colombia is sometimes treated as a separate species, the bronze-brown cowbird (M. armenti).

The male bronzed cowbird is 20 cm long and weighs 68 g, with green-bronze glossed black plumage and red eyes. The female is 18.5 cm long and weighs 56 g. She is duller black above and browner below. Young birds are like the female but have grey feather fringes.

Like all cowbirds, this bird is a brood parasite: it lays its eggs in the nests of other birds. The young cowbird is fed by the host parents at the expense of their own young. Hosts include Prevost's ground-sparrow and yellow-throated brush finch.

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Lowther, P. E. 1995. Bronzed Cowbird (Molothrus aeneus). In The Birds of North America, No. 144 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, and The American Ornithologists’ Union, Washington, D.C.
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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: Composed of two groups formerly considered separate species: aeneus (Bronzed Cowbird) and armenti (Bronze-brown Cowbird, of South America) (AOU 1983, 1998). Often placed in genus Tangavius (AOU 1998).

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