Giant Cowbird (Molothrus oryzivorus)

Order: Passeriformes Family: Icteridae IUCN Status: Least Concern

Age: Adult | Sex: Male | Loc. Amazonia, Brazil

Age: Adult | Sex: Male | Loc. Eastern Colombia

Age: Adult | Sex: Female | Loc. Moyobamba, San Martin

Age: Adult | Sex: Unknown | Loc. W Colombia | Southeast Peru

Identification & Behavior: ~34 cm (13.3 in) (male), 30 cm (12 in) (female). The Giant Cowbird is glossy black with a thick bill and a relatively long tail. The male has a red iris. The female has a pale iris. It favors open habitats along rivers and open pastures where is frequently found alone or in pairs. It often associates with cattle or Amazonian mammals and can be seen near oropendola nesting colonies as it is a nest parasite. The Giant Cowbird is much larger than the Shiny Cowbird.

Status: The Giant Cowbird is uncommon and widespread in Amazonia where it is known to range up to 1200 m along the foothill of the Andes. It also occurs in the humid forest of extreme northwest Peru in Tumbes. The Giant Cowbirds also occurs in Co, Ec, Br, and Bo.

Name in Spanish: Tordo Gigante.

Sub-species: Giant Cowbird (Molothrus oryzivorus oryzivorus), (J. F. Gmelin), 1788.

Meaning of Name: Molothrus: Gr. Molothros= uninvited guest (Merriam 1884). oryzivorus: L. oryza= rice and vorus, vorare= eating, to devour.

See more of the Family Icteridae   peru aves

Distribution Map


    • Species range based on: Schulenberg, T. S., D. F. Stotz, and L. Rico. 2006. Distribution maps of the birds of Peru, version 1.0. Environment, Culture & Conservation (ECCo). The Field Museum. on 03/01/2016.