brown-headed cowbird

brown-head·​ed cowbird | \ ˈbrau̇n-ˌhe-dəd- How to pronounce brown-headed cowbird (audio) \

Definition of brown-headed cowbird

: a cowbird (Molothrus ater) widespread in the U.S. and southern Canada in which the male is black with a brown head and the female is gray The most famous brood parasites, the European cuckoo and the brown-headed cowbird, lay their eggs in nests of other species.— Charles R. Brown and Mary Bomberger Brown Sadly, the vireo is vulnerable to a nest parasite, the brown-headed cowbird, that flourishes near livestock and in urban fringe areas.— Karen D. Fishler

Examples of brown-headed cowbird in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Another requirement will be continued vigilance against brown-headed cowbirds, which invade warblers’ nests and displace their babies. John Flesher, Detroit Free Press, 11 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'brown-headed cowbird.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of brown-headed cowbird

1949, in the meaning defined above

Learn More About brown-headed cowbird

Time Traveler for brown-headed cowbird

Time Traveler

The first known use of brown-headed cowbird was in 1949

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near brown-headed cowbird

brown hay

brown-headed cowbird

brown-headed nuthatch

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for brown-headed cowbird

Cite this Entry

“Brown-headed cowbird.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Jan. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on brown-headed cowbird Encyclopedia article about brown-headed cowbird


Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!