any of several New World blackbirds of the genus Molothrus, especially M. ater, of North America, that accompany herds of cattle.

1795–1805, Americanism; cow1 + bird Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
cowbird (ˈkaʊˌbɜːd)
any of various American orioles of the genera Molothrus, Tangavius, etc, esp M. ater (common or brown-headed cowbird). They have a dark plumage and short bill

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Example sentences
Cowbird combines these extremes, creating a storytelling environment that is
  fast and efficient, but also deeply meaningful.
Cowbird eggs typically hatch sooner, and cowbird chicks are generally larger
  than those of the host species.
The cowbird egg hatches a day before the others, getting a head start on growth.
Specific activities include cowbird trapping, installation of nest structures,
  and predator control.
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