Sunday, March 10, 2013

Crested Oropendola

Psarocolius decumanus
The Crested Oropendola is an  interesting looking bird. They have shiny black feathers, except for their long yellow tail feathers. They have bright blue irises and very large, pale yellow beaks. Males also have a crest of feathers that is lifted during mating displays.

You'll find these birds living in flocks in South America, as well as on the islands of Trinidad and Tobago. During the daytime these groups remain small, and the birds forage together for fruits and insects. But at night, the Oropendolas roost in much larger flocks.

These flocks have a polygamous breeding structure. There may be a few dozen females but only a handful of males. Typically there is only one dominant male who actually does all of the mating. In order to entice the females, the male will do an elaborate bowing display-- they sometimes bow so far forward on their perches that they end up upside down!

Crested Oropendolas are very vocal during the breeding season, creating a variety of calls for both mating and territorial purposes. Outside of that time of year, however, they are quite quiet.

IUCN Status : Least Concern
Location : South America
Size : Length up to 18in (46cm)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Aves -- Order : Passeriformes
Family : Icteridae -- Genus : Psarocolius -- Species : P. decumanus
Image : Dick Daniels

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