Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Creature Feature #89: Cacique

The Cacique are several species of New World blackbird, being distributed around Central and South America. This species, the yellow-rumped, has actually benefitted from forest clearance and ranching: he favours open woodland for his territory. He nests in colonies, with up to 100 bag-shaped nests in a tree. This tree usually also contains a live wasp nest, and the females compete to be near it, and the safety it offers from other predators. The female does all the work with the nest building, egg laying, incubation and chick-rearing. Both birds are very vocal, and the male’s song is particularly complicated: with fluting notes, cackles, wheezes and a bit of mimicry thrown in for good measure.

I first learned about the Cacique yesterday, when googling images of tomorrow’s bird, another South American oddity. This research is actually inspiring me to visit South America, as they seem to have a radically different array of avian fauna from everywhere else. The addition of these two birds also means that I am going to have well over 50 animals starting with “C” and thus the C Volume of my Animal Encyclopedia will be divided into two books.

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