1. English and Scientific names:


Shiny Cowbird, Molthrus bonariensis


  1. Number of individuals, sexes, ages, general plumage (e.g., 2 in alternate plumage):


One, Male


  1. Locality: LOUISIANA: (parish) (specific locality)


Cameron, “Rutherford” cemetery area at 138 A Joe Rutherford Road. Seen two the right (NE)  of the residence – a travel trailer – in front of gate to a pasture.


  1. Date(s) when observed:


May 5, 2011


  1. Time(s) of day when observed:


Mid-morning 10:25 AM CDST.


  1. Reporting observer and address:


Jay V. Huner

428 Hickory Hill Drive

Boyce, LA 71409


  1. Other observers accompanying reporter who also identified the bird(s):




  1. Other observers who Independently identified the bird(s):


Shiny Cowbird had been reported at the site within the previous 10 days but simply don’t recall who made the report on LABIRD.


  1. Light conditions (position of bird in relation to shade and to direction and amount of light):


Light over my shoulder looking north at bird. Bird in good light away from shade when noted.


  1. Optical equipment (type, power, condition):


Zeiss 10 x 40 binoculars, good condition.

  1. Distance to bird(s):


Approximately 20 yards.


  1. Duration of Observation:


Approximately 5 minutes.


  1. Habitat:


Coastal live oak dominated chenier. Birds in yard adjacent to a pasture.


  1. Behavior of bird/circumstances of observations (flying, feeding, resting; including and stress habits in identification: relate events surrounding observation):


Bird was foraging in ankle deep grass with mixed blackbird flock of a dozen birds, mostly Red-winged Blackbirds and a few European Starlings.


  1. Description (include only what was actually seen, not what “should” have been seen: include if possible: total length/relative size compared to other familiar species, body bulk, shape, proportions, bill, eye, leg, and plumage characteristics. Stress features that separate it from similar species):


When first seen, the bird was in front of a gate next to a male Red-winged Blackbird. It raised up its body and I could see its shiny blue-black color. The cowbird was obviously 85% or so the size of the Red-winged  Blackbird next to it. 


  1. Voice:




  1. Similar species (include how they were eliminated by your observation):


A male Red-winged Blackbird with no obvious red epaulets could be mistaken for a Shiny Cowbird in poor light. The brilliant blue-black color and smaller size than the adjacent Red-winged Blackbird is how I separated it from a blackbird.


  1. Photographs or tape recordings obtained? (by whom? Attached”):


A photograph which I feel shows the Shiny Cowbird next to a male Red-winged Blackbird has been sent to Paul Conover.


  1. Previous experience with this species:


I have seen Shiny Cowbirds at least twice in Louisiana and once in southern Florida.



  1. Identification aids: (list books, illustrations, other birders, etc. used in identification):
    1. at time of observation:   National Geographic Field Guide.


    1. after observation: Sibley Field Guide.


  1. This description is written from: _x__notes made during the observation (notes attached?); ___notes made after the observation (date: ______); ___x__ memory.


Field Notes: “10:25 AM 5-4-11. Shiny Cowbird male. Bluish Purple. 138 A Joe Rutherford Rd. N. Side. Feeding with mixed flock of mostly RW Blackbirds.


  1. Are you positive of your identification? If not, explain. Yes.


  1. Signature of reporter ____”signed” Jay V. Huner___ date_15 May 2011___ time __10:20 AM