American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. Any of various blackbirds of the genus Molothrus, especially the common North American species M. ater, that lay their eggs in the nests of other birds and are often seen accompanying herds of grazing cattle.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. An oscine passerine bird of America, belonging to the family Icteridæ and genus Molothrus; especially, M. ater or M. pecoris, so called from its accompanying cattle. It is polygamous and parasitic, depositing its eggs in the nests of other birds, like the European cuckoo, and leaving them to be hatched by the foster-parents. The male is from 7½ to 8 inches long, glossy black with metallic sheen and a chocolate-brown head; the female is smaller and dull dark-brownish. This species is very abundant in the United States. The bronzed cow-bird. M. æneus, is a larger species, found in Texas and southward; there are several others in the warmer parts of America. Also
- n. A name sometimes given in Great Britain to the rose-colored pastor, Pastor (Thremmaphilus) roseus. Macgillivray.
- n. A small North American blackbird (Molothrus ater) that lays its eggs in the nests of other birds.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Zoöl.) The cow blackbird (Molothrus ater), an American starling. Like the European cuckoo, it builds no nest, but lays its eggs in the nests of other birds; -- so called because frequently associated with cattle.
- n. North American blackbird that follows cattle and lays eggs in other birds' nests
- From their habit of staying with cattle. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“And so along with the little baby cardinals flapping flopping and squawking like mad, this little cowbird is right there with the rest getting dutifully fed by the cardinals.”
“Tanagers, and Allies by A.C. Bent (1958): "It deserves the common name cowbird and its former name, buffalo-bird, for its well-known attachment to these domestic and wild cattle.”
“Another bunting having almost the same range, although a little more southerly, is the red-eyed cowbird, which is larger and darker than our common cowbird and has the same parasitical habits.”
“It is laughable, almost pathetic, to see a tiny oven-bird or redstart feeding a strapping young cowbird which is several times as large as herself.”
“You know there is a bird called the cowbird or cuckoo, and that bird is too lazy to build a nest for itself.”
“Sure, some birds have names that describe their activities, such as flycatcher, or gnatcatcher, or their general appearance, such as bluebird, or the place they tend to loiter, such as cowbird.”
“I have been watching a pair of cardinals parenting a baby cowbird at my bird feeders recently.”
“This kind of “adoptive stewardship” might lead us, like Ma & Pa Cardinal with the little cowbird chick, to nurture and tend everything in nature as parents caring for children – no matter what the kiddies look like or where they come from.”
“We began cowbird trapping, to reduce nest predation, and before the second year of the recent drought, we had three nesting pairs producing 3-4 offspring a year I would photograph them at water with their fledged offspring--families stay together until they migrate.”
“As the largest unfragmented forest left in the eastern U.S., park bird populations may be stable, in part due to avoidance of cowbird Molothrus ater, a prolific nest parasite.”
These user-created lists contain the word ‘cowbird’.
birds with singular names from
at least 9 English dictionaries
Creatures that are described in terms of other animals. Usual rules apply: look at the entries and you'll get the hang of it :-) I could say 'no madeupicals' but, jeeperz, I'd have to put myself on...
Birds that have the word bird in their names. (This list also includes some general descriptions of certain kinds of birds - wading birds, water birds, &c.) For other bird-related fun (especially p...
Birds endemic to the United States and/or North America.
You know who you are, freakish compounds. Though very useful, some of these words just don't seem right together--or, their meanings are so far from what the two (or more) component words suggest t...
Words and phrases from Lynn Flewelling's book, Luck in the Shadows.
When it comes to naming their subjects, ornithologists soar above all others!
Looking for tweets for cowbird.