Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The "Helicopter Bird"

During a trip to the Rio Grande Valley of south Texas, I was introduced to the wonderful Bronzed Cowbird (Molothrus aeneus). Note the bright red eyes of this bird:

And here are a few images I captured of the display:

These next 3 images are in a sequence of a mid-air display (why I nicknamed this bird "the helicopter bird"):

As you can see, this bird puts on quite a show, ruffling his feathers, "ballooning" out to a much larger looking bird, and vigorously flapping his wings!

All of the above image were made with the Canon 7D digital SLR camera. Having built-in video capability, I also grabbed a couple of videos of this bird's displaying behavior. In this first video, you can see the display, in front of another bird:

And this next video is extremely short. As one of the cowbirds began displaying in mid-air, I directed my lens towards him and grabbed only a brief mid-air display, before the bird flew down to the ground:

This post was written by Jim Braswell of Show-Me Nature Photography.


  1. That's fascinating. As an Aussie I don't know much about Cowbirds, but they are obviously real characters, and I enjoyed seeing and reading about them.

  2. Very nice collection of photos - I really like the birds in display! I put together a little photo study of Bronzed Cowbirds I saw in Florida this past March, but didn't have the opportunity for photos of the birds displaying, just walking around and foraging. Here is a link: http://www.nemesisbird.com/birding/identification/the-bronzed-cowbirds-of-southern-florida/

  3. Excellent photographs and videos of the Bronzed Cowbirds display! No one captures wildlife behavior like you do, Jim! Fantastic!

  4. Wow - amazing photos of a cool display!

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