English and Scientific names:

Shiny Cowbird (Molothrus bonariensis)


Number of individuals: 

1 adult male




Specific Locality:

Bradbury Residence, Grand Isle, LA

Date(s) when observed:

24 April 2010


Time(s) of day when observed:  



Reporting observer and address:

Erik I. Johnson
Lafayette, LA


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

Cecile Johnson


Other observers who independently identified the bird(s)

many - reported the week before at the Grand Isle Migratory Bird Festival.  

Seen by Josh Sylvest and Richard Temple on same day as me.

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

overcast offering soft even mid-day light.


Optical equipment: 

Swarovski EL 10 x 42


Distance to bird(s): 

5m at closest


Duration of observation:

10 minutes



yard; at feeder with other blackbirds and cowbirds

Behavior of bird: 

Feeding under feeder in lawn and picking gravel off street and driveway.  Viewed from car to not flush/disturb the bird.  It was in the presence of Red-winged Blackbirds, Brown-headed Cowbirds, Bronzed Cowbirds, and European Starlings, providing excellent comparisons to these species.


Glossy blue-black, especially on head, back, and throat with dark iris.  Typical blackbird bill: pointed and conical-shaped.



not heard

Similar species:

Combination of glossy plumage, no brown in head, and dark eye eliminate all other blackbirds, grackles, and cowbirds.


Photographs or tape recordings obtained?



Previous experience with this species: 

Only seen in tropics - familiar urban bird in Manaus where I have spent 12 months.


Identification aids:

Sibley Guide to North American Birds


This description is written from: 



Are you positive of your identification? If not, explain: 




Date and time: 

1 May 2010, 20:30