Black oropendola | American birds

   ›      ›   Black oropendola - Psarocolius guatimozinus

The black oropendola (Psarocolius guatimozinus) belongs to the family of grackles, cowbirds and oropendolas, the Icteridae.

The black oropendola is distributed over eastern Panama in North America and northwest Colombia in South America. These oropendola species are restricted-range species. These oropendolas are monotypic species.

Overview & Quick Facts Description & Identification
Pictures of Black Oropendola Distribution & Range
Ecosystem & Habitat Diet & Feeding Behavior
Breeding Habits Migration & Movement Patterns
Conservation & Survival IUCN Status
Taxonomy & Classification Bird World

Appearance, physical description and identification

The black oropendola (Psarocolius guatimozinus) is a medium-sized oropendola, measuring 40 to 47 cm in length. The males are slightly larger.

The black oropendola has blackish plumage. The back, rump and part of wing coverts are deep chestnut. The tail is yellow with dark gray central feathers. There is a bare blue patch on the face and pink wattle at the base of bill.

The large black bill is tipped yellow. The irises are very pale and creamy. There is a pale gray eye-ring. The legs and feet are grayish. The call is a high pitched "chew.. chew" sound.
Bird World - Image of Black oropendola - Psarocolius guatimozinus
1.Bird World - Image of Black oropendola - Psarocolius guatimozinus by John Gerrard Keulemans

Origin, geographical range and distribution

The black oropendola is distributed over eastern Panama in North America and northwest Colombia in South America. These species are restricted-range species and they are monotypic species.

The Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA) of black oropendola species in Panama is Darién National Park and in Colombia is Parque Nacional Natural Los Katíos.

Ecosystem and habitat

The black oropendola species have moderate forest dependence. They normally occur in altitudes between 0 to 800 meters.

The natural ecosystems and habitats of these species include subtropical and tropical dry forests, subtropical and tropical moist lowland forests and forest edge near plantations.

Diet and feeding behavior

The diet of the black oropendola species consists mainly of insects. Invertebrates, insects, spiders, small vertebrates, fruits and nectar are their primary food. These species mostly forage high in the canopy.

Reproduction and breeding habits

The breeding season of this oropendola species is in January and February in Panama. The laying season is from April to June in Colombia. These species are colonial breeders. Polygynous behavior has been observed.

The breeding sites include tall trees with horizontal branches. The hanging nests are woven with grass and plant fibers. The clutch contains pale pink eggs with reddish brown blotches. The female takes care of the young.

Migration and movement patterns

The black oropendola species are non-migratory resident birds. Post breeding, the juveniles may disperse and establish in new locations within the range. Within their range they may make local movements for feeding and breeding.

Black oropendola - Quick Facts

  • Scientific name: Psarocolius guatimozinus
  • Species author: (Bonaparte, 1853)
  • Synonyms/Protonym: Ostinops guatimozinus Bonaparte, 1853
  • Family: Icteridae › Passeriformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia,
  • Vernacular names: English: Black oropendola, Chinese: 黑拟掠鸟, French: Cassique noir, German: Anthrazitstirnvogel, Spanish: Cacique negro, Russian: Чёрная оропендола, Japanese: クロオオツリスドリ
  • Other names: Black Oropendola
  • Distribution: South America (northwest Colombia), North America ( east Panama).
  • Diet and feeding habits: fruits, insects, invertebrates, small vertebrates
  • IUCN status listing: Least Concern (LC)

Conservation and survival

The global population size of the black oropendola (Psarocolius guatimozinus) has not been quantified. The overall population trend of the species is considered to be stable.

In most of its range, this species is reported to be 'fairly common' (Stotz et al. 1996). The generation length is 4.6 years. Its distribution size is about 154,000

Ecosystem degradation, ecosystem conversion, agricultural expansion, deforestation and logging activities are the main threats that are endangering the survival of this oropendola species.

IUCN and CITES status

The black oropendola (Psarocolius guatimozinus) does not approach the thresholds for being Vulnerable either under the range size criterion or under the population trend criterion or under the population size criterion.

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated the oropendola species and has listed it as of "Least Concern".

The CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) status is ‘Not Evaluated’ for the black oropendola (Psarocolius guatimozinus).
Taxonomy and scientific classification of Psarocolius guatimozinus
Species:P. guatimozinus
Binomial name:Psarocolius guatimozinus
IUCN status listing:
Least Concern
The black oropendola (Psarocolius guatimozinus) is closely related to the Montezuma oropendola (Psarocolius montezuma) and the Baudó oropendola (Psarocolius cassini).
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Image source:
Image author: John Gerrard Keulemans (1842–1912) | Public domain
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