English and Scientific names:

Shiny Cowbird (Molothrus bonariensis)

Number of individuals: 

1 adult male



Specific Locality:

Grand Isle; Tommy Bradberry's house. 

Date(s) when observed:

April 17, 2010

Time(s) of day when observed:  


Reporting observer and address:

Phillip Wallace
New Orleans, LA

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

David Muth, Curt Sorrells

Other observers who independently identified the bird(s)

Discovered by Dittmann and Cardiff on April 16. Seen by numerous other birders on the 17th.

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

Excellent light; clear skies; bird in sunlight and in shade of mulberry tree.

Optical equipment: 

Eagle 10x40 bins

Distance to bird(s): 

10-20 m

Duration of observation:

15 minutes


Suburban yard; in mulberry tree and at bird bath.

Behavior of bird: 

Singing; preening; bathing


An all dark cowbird about the size of a Brown-headed. Dark eye clearly seen. Dark, non-brown head clearly seen. Bill a little thinner and more pointed than Brown-headed; bill appeared slightly decurved. Bluish gloss most apparent on belly and mantle; wings and tail duller. Lacked the big-headed, thick-necked look of a Bronzed Cowbird. Dark gray legs and bill.


Full song; sputtering, warbling, extended song. 

Similar species:

Leisurely study easily eliminated Red-winged Blackbird, which can sometimes make you think Shiny at first glance. Absence of brown head eliminates Brown-headed. Dark eye and general shape eliminate Bronzed. Song also eliminates all contenders.

Photographs or tape recordings obtained?

Video with song submitted to LBRC.

Previous experience with this species: 

I've seen several times in LA.

Identification aids:


This description is written from: 

Notes written the day after the observation and from video

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



Date and time: 

June 16, 2010

4:41 p.m