French: Vacher à tête brune German: Braunkopf-Kuhstärling Spanish: Tordo cabecipardo
Subspecies and Distribution
M. a. obscurus
(J. F. Gmelin, 1789) – Pacific seaboard from S Alaska (rare) S (E to the Cascades and Sierra Nevada) to NW & N Mexico (N Baja California, also on mainland S to Oaxaca); N populations migrate to S parts of breeding range, in Mexico extending to S Baja California.
M. a. artemisiae
Grinnell, 1909 – W Canada (interior British Columbia E to SC Manitoba) S in W USA (E from the Cascades and Sierra Nevada) to California, Nevada and New Mexico; migrates S to Mexico (S to Michoacán).
M. a. ater
(Boddaert, 1783) – SE Canada (S Ontario E to Newfoundland) S throughout E USA to C Texas, Gulf Coast and C Florida, and in E Mexico S to Tamaulipas; winters in Florida and in Mexico S to Oaxaca.
Male 18–20 cm, female 16–18 cm; male 43·1–57·3 g and female 32·3–42·3 g (nominate), male average 47·5 g and female... read more
Male song, from perch, consists of two low-pitched warbles (or a series of clicks) followed by thin... read more
Found in almost all open habitats, such as grasslands, pastures, woodland edge, agricultural fields... read more
Food and feeding
Feeds on insects and other arthropods; also on seeds of both wild and cultivated plants. Forages on ground, often around grazing mammals,... read more
Season mid-Apr to mid-Jul, with some local variations. Mating system variable, from monogamy to promiscuity. A generalized brood parasite,... read more
Short-distance to medium-distance migrant. W race obscurus migrates S into Baja California... read more
Status and conservation
Not globally threatened. Common to locally abundant in most of range. At end of 20th century, estimated global population was 20,000,000–40,000,000 individuals. Before... read more
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