Return of Bird of the Week: Black Oropendola


Last week’s Brewer’s Blackbird is a member of the family Icteridae. A more exotic member of that family is the Black Oropendola.

Black Oropendola, Darièn Province, Panama

Black Oropendola, Darièn Province, Panama

This species has a fairly narrow range: northern Columbia and far eastern Panama. Like all of the oropendolas, it’s a weaver, building long, pendulous nests that hang is groups from a tree in the open, often in a meadow or at the edge of a field. This is a female working on a new nest.

But what sets the Black Oropendola apart from its fellow species is the amazing facial coloration.

Black Oropendola, Darièn Province, Panama

Black Oropendola, Darièn Province, Panama

The red and blue patches make this one of the easiest birds to identify anywhere. You can see the long, thin plume feathers this species displays during breeding season.

The species is poorly studied, like many other tropical birds. Populations are believed to be stable, but, really, that’s a guess. They aren’t easily spooked by humans, which may work to their benefit. They are colonial nesters, and like all of the oropendolas, incredibly noisy, especially in the morning. The calls of oropendolas are as much a part of a jungle dawn as the calls of howler monkeys.

For more bird photographs, please visit Frozen Feather Images.

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