Saturday, 20 December 2014

Montezuma oropendola

Psarocolius montezuma

(Photo from Ecos del Bosque)

Common name:
Montezuma oropendola (en); japu-de-Montezuma (pt); cassique de Montezuma (fr); cacique de Moctezuma (es); Montezumastirnvogel (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Icteridae

Range:
This species is found from southern Mexico south to western Panama, mainly on the lowlands bordering the Carribean Sea.

Size:
This species is sexually dimorphic. Males are 46-51 cm long and weigh about 520 g, while the females are smaller at 38-39 cm long and weighing 230-250 g.

Habitat:
The Montezuma oropendola is mostly found in moist tropical forests, particularly in forest clearing, forest edges and areas near water. They also use banana plantations and bamboo thickets. They occur from sea level up to an altitude of 800 m.

Diet:
They feed mainly on fruits, but also take nectar, flowers and other plant material, as well as large insects and other arthropods, frogs and other small vertebrates.

Breeding:
Montezuma oropendolas breed in January-August. They are polygynous, with males defending harems, and nest in colonies of 20-150 nests. Females build the nests, which consist of large, elaborate, pear-shaped structures made of plant fibres and twigs that hang from tree branches. Each female lays 1-2 white or buff-coloured eggs with dark spots, which she incubates alone for 15 days. The chicks fledge about 30 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a large breeding range and the global population is estimated at 50.000-500.000 individuals. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats. Their rainforest habitats are being reduced by moderate deforestation, but they can adapt to open country with scattered trees.

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