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New World Blackbirds and Orioles: Icteridae

Baywing (agelaioides Badius): Species Accounts

Physical characteristics: The baywing, sometimes called the baywinged cowbird, is a small olive-gray bird. Wings are chestnut with black markings, and the bill, feet, and tail are black as well. Average size is about 7 inches (18 centimeters) in length and 1.4 to 1.8 ounces (41 to 50 grams).

Geographic range: A year-round resident of South America, the baywing is found in parts of Bolivia and Argentina, northeastern Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay.

Habitat: Baywings are found at higher altitudes, up to 9,500 feet (2,880 meters), and favor scrub or wooded terrain.

Diet: Baywings eat primarily insects.

Behavior and reproduction: Instead of building their own nests, baywings typically take over abandoned nests of other birds (although some will either build their own cup-shaped nests or dwell in woodpecker holes). They are frequent victims of screaming cowbirds, a brood parasite species that lays their eggs in other birds' nests for incubation and fledging. It is thought that baywings lay clutches of four to five eggs.

Baywings and people: Baywings are not considered agricultural pests and enjoy a harmonious relationship with people.

Conservation status: Baywings are not a threatened species. ∎



George, Phillip Brandt. "Blackbirds, Orioles." In Reference Atlas to the Birds of North America, edited by Mel Baughman. Washington, DC: National Geographic Press, 2003.

Jaramillo, Alvaro, and Peter Burke. New World Blackbirds: The Icterids. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1999.

Sibley, David Allen. National Audubon Society: The Sibley Guide to Birds. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2000.


Harrison, George. "The Lord and Master: The Flashy Red-winged Blackbird is a Joyful Songster, a Master Weaver, and One of Our Most Easily Recognized Birds." Birder's World (February 2003): 42–5.

Web sites:

Cornell Lab of Ornithology. "Baltimore Oriole." All About Birds. http://birds.cornell.edu/programs/AllAboutBirds/BirdGuide/Baltimore_Orile_tl.html (accessed on May 28, 2004).

Cornell Lab of Ornithology. "Red-winged Blackbird." All About Birds. http://birds.cornell.edu/programs/AllAboutBirds/BirdGuide/Red-winged_Blackbird.html (accessed on May 28, 2004).

United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services. "Development and Evaluation of Management Techniques for Reducing Blackbird Damage to Ripening Sunflower Crops and to Feedlots." National Wildlife Research Center. http://www.aphis.usda.gov/ws/nwrc/research/sunflowers/ (accessed on May 29, 2004).

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceBirdsNew World Blackbirds and Orioles: Icteridae - Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Blackbirds, Orioles, And People, Baltimore Oriole (icterus Galbula): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, CONSERVATION STATUS