Friday, November 2, 2012

Yellow-rumped Cacique

Yellow-rumped Caciques are South American blackbirds found north into Mexico. This photo was taken in eastern Peru. The species is common and noisy in cultivated areas with large trees. It eats insects and fruit. These caciques breed in compact colonies, containing up to 100 hanging nests, usually built around an active wasp nest. The wasps may protect the birds from nest predators; the birds may alert the wasps to the presence of wasp-eating predators.

According to Wikipedia, Peruvian folklore reports that a boy, who always wore black pants and a yellow jacket, started a false rumor about an old woman. But the woman was a witch who turned him into a noisy, wandering bird. I do not know if Yellow-rumped Caciques were ever little boys, but, if you look closely, you may notice that these caciques have bright blue eyes, a trait uncommon among birds.

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