Pale Baywing Agelaioides fringillarius
(aka Baywing, Bay-winged Cowbird Agelaioides badius, Molothrus badius)
Bay-winged Cowbird, Mocambinho, Minas Gerais, Brazil, February 2002 - click for larger image Brazil

The Pale Baywing is distributed in north east Brazil. See the distribution map at Birdlife International. It is normally found in dry, scrubby open woodland such as the caatinga of north east Brazil. They are often seen in small flocks.

For a time this species was included, along with Greyish Baywing Agelaioides badius as Bay-winged Cowbird but it seemed to be only distantly related to true cowbirds and it behaves a lot more like the Chopi Blackbird Gnorimopsar chopi.

Unlike other cowbirds it is not a brood parasite and, in fact, the Pale Baywing itself is a victim of brood parasitism by other cowbirds mainly the Shiny Cowbird Molothrus bonariensis. While the Pale Baywing breeds normally and sometimes builds its own nest, it often uses old nests of other species such as the Rufous-fronted Thornbird Phacellodomus rufifrons. This "nest parasitism" has been interpreted as a primitive stage of parasitism.

These and other differences were supported by molecular variation compared to other cowbirds which has led Jaramillo & Burke to suggest that the generic name be changed from Molothrus to Agelaioides.
They further suggested that Pale Baywing A. fringillarius be considered as a different species from Greyish Baywing. This is on the basis of the much paler colouration, the much buffier tone of the underparts and the more extensive as well as more contrasting black mask. Vocalisations are also different.

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