Return of Bird of the Week: Russet-backed Oropendola


Russet-backed Oropendola, East Slope of Andes, Peru

Russet-backed Oropendola, East Slope of Andes, Peru

Another Oropendola species, this one a South American species near the southern margin of its range in central Peru. The Russet-backed is about the same size as its Crested cousin.

Russet-backed Oropendola, East Slope of Andes, Peru

Russet-backed Oropendola, East Slope of Andes, Peru

The taxonomy of Oropendolas in general and Russet-backed in particular is undecided. There are presently six subspecies, but two of those subspecies – the Yellow-billed and the Black-billed Oropendola – have been proposed as separate species. This is probably the Alfredi subspecies, the proposed “Yellow-billed” Oropendola.

Like its cousins, this is a colonial nester, with long, pendulous nests.

Russet-backed Oropendola, East Slope of Andes, Peru

Russet-backed Oropendola, East Slope of Andes, Peru, on Nest

The IUCN reports this is a species of least concern because of its comparatively wide range, although numbers are believed to be declining in portions of its range.

It’s hard not to like Oropendolas. Their noisy exuberance, elaborate courtship and amazing nests make them one of WC’s favorites.

For more bird photographs, please visit Frozen Feather Images.

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