• East view from Crissy Field overlook with old Coast Guard station on left and city on right

    Presidio of San Francisco

    California

Brown-headed Cowbird

(Molothrus ater)
 
Brown-headed Cowbird
A male Brown-headed Cowbird perches on Coyote Brush near Crissy Marsh.
Will Elder, NPS
 

Natural History: The Brown-headed Cowbird feeds on insects and other invertebrates, as well as seeds and grains. It often takes cover in dense foliage, but also is seen resting on telephone poles and lines. This bird lays its eggs in the nests of other species, especially warblers, finches, flycatchers, and vireos and displaces the young of those species. Breeding season runs from March to August.

General Distribution: In the Presidio, this species is found in all habitat areas. It is a nest parasite in the Presidio that is becoming increasingly common.

Frequency: This species is common to abundant in all seasons except winter.

Identifying Characteristics: Males are iridescence black with a brown head and dark eyes. Females tend to be grayish-brown with weekly striped breast.

Presidio Birds main page

Did You Know?

Officers' Quarters built on Infantry Terrace in 1910

The entire Presidio has been designated a National Historic Landmark. Of the 870 structures on the former post, 470 are considered to have historical significance.