Know Your Icterids, Part Two: Bronzed Cowbird

A bird that’s new for me with CONE Welder is the Bronzed Cowbird. Like the other icterids in the system, the males and females look somewhat different, though with the Bronzed Cowbird the difference isn’t as obvious as it is with the other icterids we’ve been seeing.

Here’s a shot of a male that I took today:

And here’s a shot of a female I took a few minutes later:

The female has the same pattern of black on the head and back, with lighter plumage below that, though the female is more drab than the male.

As with many icterids, eye color is an important field mark for the Bronzed Cowbird. Both sexes have a really striking reddish iris; birdbrain got this great shot of a male glaring at the camera on May 16:

Something that confused me the first few times I saw these birds was that they don’t always show the puffed-up head and shoulders that Sibley shows in his illustration (he calls it a “ruff”). They do show it a lot, though, as in that photo of the male at the top of this post, and in this cool shot taken by txbird on May 10:

Finally, here’s a good comparison shot I got back on May 4. I think this shows a male Bronzed Cowbird in the middle, with a female on either side. (I’m not sure about the identity of the other two birds in the background.) Besides the difference in their markings, you can see that there’s a bit of a size difference between the sexes, too; the male is a little larger.

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