Cacique (bird)

Taxobox
name = Caciques



image_caption = Red-rumped Cacique
regnum = Animalia
phylum = Chordata
classis = Aves
ordo = Passeriformes
familia = Icteridae
genus = "Cacicus" (and see text)
genus_authority = Lacepede, 1799

subdivision_ranks = Species
subdivision = See text.

The caciques are passerine birds in the New World blackbird family. Members of the family are resident breeders in tropical South America and north to Mexico. All of the group are in the genus "Cacicus", except the aberrant Yellow-billed Cacique ("Amblycercus holosericeus"), which constitutes a monotypic genus. Judging from mtDNA cytochrome "b" and NADH dehydrogenase subunit 2 sequence (Price & Lanyon 2002), the aberrant oropendolas Band-tailed Oropendola ("Ocyalus latirostris") and Casqued Oropendola, "Psarocolius oseryi" ("Ocyalus oseryi"?) seem to be closer to the caciques.

The caciques are birds associated with open woodland or denser forests. They are colonial breeders, with several long, hanging, bag-shaped nests in a tree, each suspended from the end of a branch. Some species choose a tree that also contains an active wasp nest as a deterrent to predators, and females compete for the best sites near the protection of the wasp nest. The eggs are incubated by the female alone.

These are slim birds with long tails and predominantly black or dark brown plumage. The pointed bill is pale yellow or blue-grey, depending on species, and several caciques have blue eyes. The female is typically smaller and duller than the male.

Three black species have the dark plumage enlivened by a red rump, five have a yellow rump and in some cases yellow on the shoulders, tail or lower belly, and the three dark brown caciques show no bright colour patches.

These gregarious birds eat large insects and fruit. They are very vocal, producing a wide range of songs, sometimes including mimicry.

Some species such as the Yellow-rumped Cacique have benefited from the more open habitat created by forest clearance and ranching, but the forest-dwellers have been adversely affected for the same reason.

pecies of "Cacicus"

* Yellow-rumped Cacique, "Cacicus cela"
* Red-rumped Cacique, "Cacicus haemorrhous"
* Scarlet-rumped Cacique, "Cacicus uropygialis"
** Subtropical Cacique, "Cacicus (uropygialis) uropygialis"
** Scarlet-rumped Cacique, "Cacicus (uropygialis) microrhynchus"
** Pacific Cacique, "Cacicus (uropygialis/microrhynchus) pacificus"
* Selva Cacique, "Cacicus koepckeae"
* Golden-winged Cacique, "Cacicus chrysopterus"
* Mountain Cacique, "Cacicus chrysonotus"
** Northern Mountain Cacique, "Cacicus leucoramphus"
* Ecuadorian Cacique, "Cacicus sclateri"
* Solitary Black Caciqueor Solitary Cacique, "Cacicus solitarius"
* Yellow-winged Cacique, "Cacicus melanicterus"

References

* ffrench , Richard; O'Neill, John Patton & Eckelberry, Don R. (1991): "A guide to the birds of Trinidad and Tobago" (2nd edition). Comstock Publishing, Ithaca, N.Y.. ISBN 0-8014-9792-2

* Hilty, Steven L. (2003): "Birds of Venezuela". Christopher Helm, London. ISBN 0-7136-6418-5

* Jaramillo, Alvaro & Burke, Peter (1999): "New World Blackbirds". Christopher Helm, London. ISBN 0-7136-4333-1

* Price, J. Jordan & Lanyon, Scott M. (2002): A robust phylogeny of the oropendolas: Polyphyly revealed by mitochondrial sequence data. "Auk" 119(2): 335–348. DOI: 10.1642/0004-8038(2002)119 [0335:ARPOTO] 2.0.CO;2 [http://www.smcm.edu/users/jjprice/PDFs/Price%20&%20Lanyon%202002a.pdf PDF fulltext]

* Stiles, F. Gary & Skutch, Alexander Frank (1989): "A guide to the birds of Costa Rica". Comistock, Ithaca. ISBN 0-8014-9600-4

External links

* [http://ibc.hbw.com/ibc/phtml/familia.phtml?idFamilia=203 Cacique videos] on the Internet Bird Collection


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