Crested Oropendola (Psarocolius decumanus insularis)

Asa Wright Nature Centre, Trinidad

June 15, 2012

Crested Oropendola

Nancy took this image while on the first full day of a trip led by Brian Rapoza for the Tropical Audubon Society to Trinidad and Tobago.

Orodendolas are in the same family as orioles. Males of this species are about 18 inches long, weighing 10 ounces. Females, over four inches shorter, weigh about 40% less. Females also have duller colors and lack the crest. The crest is long and narrow and hard to see (to me it looks like a few thick head-hairs out of place). These birds have a very unique descending call that has been described as someone sliding their hand across a pianoaudio.

They can be found in lowland forest edges and clearings of Central and South America east of the Andes, from Panama south to northern Argentina and in Trinidad and Tobago. In fact the birds on these islands constitute one of the four subspecies of these birds. They nest in colonies of between 15 and 30 females with three or four males. During the breeding season, a tree may have many hanging woven nests that can be over four feet longimage.

Photographic details: Canon EOS 7D camera w/ EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM lens set at 400mm. Camera was on f/16 for 1/350 second at ISO 640.

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