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.