icterus [ik' ter us ik' ter us]
This is a fairly large member
of the oriole family, with a long, wedge-shaped
tail and long, chisel-like bill. In addition to
its size, the troupial also differs from other
orioles in having bright yellow eyes surrounded
by naked skin that is bright blue in color. The
underparts and bottom of tail are orange, and
there is also an orange neck collar. The head and
upper chest are black. The wings are also black,
with a small patch of orange feathers on the
upper extreme of each shoulder and a white band
running lengthwise. Juveniles are similar in
color to adults except slightly duller orange and
dull blue-grey skin around the eyes.
Troupials are native to
northern and central South America, from Colombia
into Argentina, and on the islands of Aruba,
Curaçao and Isla Margarita. They have also been
introduced to Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, and
Bonaire. They prefer dry woodlands and semi-open
savanna, but will also visit fruit plantations
Breeding season typically runs
from March through September, but may be
year-round in some parts of the troupial's range.
Breeding pairs typically stay together throughout
the year, but it is not known if troupial pairs
stay together from one season to the next. Unlike
most other Passeriformes the troupial does not
build its own nest, relying instead on nests
stolen from other birds; they will also take over
abandoned nests. The occupied nest may be
modified by the addition of a new nest lining
and/or widening of the entrance. A new nest is
usually acquired for each breeding season.
Three eggs are typically laid,
each being white or whitish pink with dark spots
on the bottom. They are incubated for 15-16 days.
Both parents take care of the young, which fledge
in 22-23 days. Age to maturity and life span in
the wild are not known.
Troupials tend to forage in pairs or as a
family, rarely in flocks. Insects and fruit make
up the vast majority of the diet.
Males do most of the singing, beginning in
early morning and lasting throughout day. Females
also sing, but usually only in response to a
male. The call consists of loud, long, repetitive
notes that are difficult to distinguish from
other birds, even for experienced birders.
The troupial is the national bird of
genus & species Icterus icterus
Animal Diversity Web http://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Icterus_icterus/
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