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Saint Johns, FL, USA


Merlin ids this as a shiny cowbird but belly seems too light. Also seems to be marked differently from any brown headed cowbird we have seen before.

Unknown Cowbird Species

Unknown cowbird

3 replies on “Unknown cowbird species”

Marvin Cornell says:

Any help identifying this bird would be appreciated!

Holly Faulkner, Project Assistant says:

Hi Marvin, This is certainly a hard bird to ID! However, we agree with Merlin, this is likely a Shiny Cowbird – it has a lighter “eyebrow” and no streaking on the belly, which are field marks for Shiny Cowbirds. Female Brown-headed Cowbirds have light streaking on their bellies, and are generally darker below, with lighter-colored head feathers. Take a look at this photo submitted to Macaulay Library which shows a very similar-looking bird to yours. Let us know if you have further questions at

Marvin Cornell says:

Thanks, Holly! I agree that the bird we saw does look exactly like the Shiny cowbird photo that you referenced. I wonder what brought her all the way to northeast Florida. I guess it is true that birds don’t read our range maps. I will now feel confident in adding the Shiny cowbird to my life list.

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