Jeff and Alison,
Thank you for your informative and fun site. In October 2009,
I went to Aruba on a business trip. Near the Marina Resort
Hotel, I spotted this cowbird. Because I'm from Europe (The
Netherlands), I am not familiar with cowbirds, and I wondered
whether this would be a female Shiny Cowbird or Black-headed
Cowbird. I understood that based on range, the Shiny Cowbird
would be most likely, but in the field guide I used (Birds
of the West Indies), this species seems to have a smaller
bill than the bird I spotted and photographed. Could you help
me out? Thank you in advance!
Best, Wim Kamphuis
Shiny Cowbird, photo by Wim Kamphius
Wim. Based on your photo, the bird appears to be a Shiny Cowbird.
It may be a young male that hasn't reached full breeding plumage,
given the apparent black area in the wings. The species is a
relative newcomber to the island, first recorded on the island
on 1997 and since have become a common breeding resident. Thanks
for your photo and your question.
Jeff and AllisonWells