If ever a name fit a species it is the Montezuma Oropéndola. This fascinating bird has four trade-marks, two of which are described in its name. Let’s dissect the name and in the process you will learn some Spanish.
ORO – is the Spanish word for gold. The Oropéndola has a brilliant layered display of gold feathers for its tail.
Pénodola – Spanish for pendulum. This is exactly what the bird does when the male gives its call. The bird swings forward on a branch, dipping down as he vocalizes. See the video below:
The other characteristics of this bird are the strange metallic call (as heard in the video) and the birds’ nests.
The nests are made of woven leaf-matter and are precariously perched at the end of flimsy limbs often times in multiples.
It is thought that this is to deter would-be predators.
According to Wikipedia the Montezuma Oropéndola is “…a resident breeder in the Caribbean coastal lowlands from southeastern Mexico to central Panama, but is absent from El Salvador and southern Guatemala.”
We see them often here in the Central Valley, both up in the mountains and at lower elevations. It is one of my favorite birds because of its uniqueness.
Until next time, hasta luego,
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In addition to writing on this blog, Greg has written for other online publications and has written two popular books about living in Costa Rica:
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