Species names in all available languages
|English (United States)||Olive Oropendola|
|French||Cassique du Para|
|French (French Guiana)||Cacique du Para|
|Spanish||Cacique de Pará|
|Spanish (Ecuador)||Oropéndola Oliva|
|Spanish (Peru)||Oropéndola Olivácea|
|Spanish (Spain)||Cacique de Pará|
|Spanish (Venezuela)||Conoto Pico Encarnado|
Harold F. Greeney revised the account. August Davidson-Onsgard curated the media and Claire Walter copy edited the account.
Psarocolius bifasciatus (von Spix, 1824)
- bifasciata / bifasciatus
The Key to Scientific Names
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Said to prefer tall terra firme forest in most of its range, the large and showy Olive Oropendola can be seen flying over habitats of many types; its presence heralded by the sound of its distinctive ponderous wingbeats. It prefers to forage high above the ground, alone or in small groups, sometimes joining forces with other large icterids (Icteridae) and corvids (Corvidae) to pillage the canopy for invertebrates, fruits, and flower nectar. Despite some wonderfully detailed observational studies made on the nesting of this colonial, canopy-breeding icterid, basic information on its nest architecture, eggs, and nestlings is lacking.
The Olive Oropendola is widespread in the Amazonian region of northern South America, and shares much in common with its Central American relative, the Montezuma Oropendola (Psarocolius montezuma). Three subspecies are traditionally recognized, which differ in appearance. The most widely distributed subspecies, yuracares, is pale olive on the head and chest, and chestnut on the wings, flanks, and back. The narrowly distributed nominate subspecies is rather different, being black on the head and chest, but also with chestnut on the wings, flanks, and back. Between the ranges of these two subspecies is a third taxon that is somewhat variable in coloration and possibly shows a clinal integration between the other forms. This has led some authorities to propose that individuals in the Rio Tapajós-Rio Xingu interfluvium are representative of a hybrid swarm, and thus not deserving of a subspecific name. The question of the taxonomic position of this intermediary population, as well as if and where the ranges of the three taxa meet, is an interesting conundrum deserving of further study.