Photo Challenges

A Photo a Week Challenge: Brown

This is my contribution to the A Photo a Week Challenge: Brown.

This is a male Brown-headed Cowbird feeding on the South Bruce Peninsula, Ontario in the spring.

The common English name for the species comes from the male who has an iridescent black body and a brown head and for the species habit of foraging on the ground following grazing species such as cattle. The grazing animals disturb insects which are caught by the birds.

The species is a brood parasite, the females lay their eggs in the nests of other species. These species can be as wide ranging as Hummingbirds to Raptors.

A Photo a Week Challenge: Brown

8 replies on “A Photo a Week Challenge: Brown”

I replied to this yesterday. More WordPress gremlins. They’re not popular with some bird watchers because of their breeding practice but I suspect they can’t affecting the host species populations to any degree. My theory is that with a wide range of host species there’s a negligible impact on each species.

You must be right given how long they’ve been around, I just feel so sorry for the host parents as the intruders are always so much bigger! However I love the sound of a Cuckoo, increasingly rare in the UK, so they do bring joy in other ways.

Given that the Brown-headed Cowbird is the size of a Starling the young Cowbird wouldn’t always be bigger. A Cowbird in a raptor next would be smaller. I do wonder if it would survive given how aggressive many species of young raptors can be. Also, if the host species feeds the young exclusively a seed diet the Cowbird won’t survive.

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