Thursday, February 1, 2018

Montezuma Oropendola

Montezuma Oropendolas are huge blackbirds that enjoy a non-continuous range from southeastern Mexico to central Panama. These photos are from the 10th and 14th of July 2017 at the Arenal Observatory Lodge and at the Laguna Lagarto Lodge. They are common at forest edges and farmlands. They nest colonially in tall trees and make large, hanging basket nests. Only the females build the nests.The average number of nests in a colony is in the low 20s, but sometimes contain over 130 (Sample and Kannan 2016).

Montezuma Oropendolas are polygynous.  Dominant males sire most of the young in a colony. Less dominant males are able to mate with females, if they are away from the colony and the dominant bird. So you can see, it is important to be a dominant male. They display by screeching a loud, gurgling call. Then the male bows, cocks his tail, spreads his wings, and ends up hanging up-side-down. Check out the following images!

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