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Booth Museum Bird of the Month, December 2019: Psarocolius decumanus

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December’s bird is the Crested oropendola, Psarocolius decumanus.

Oropendolas forage in groups, looking for fruit and insects. They can use their beaks to prise open clusters of dead leaves. This ability to powerfully open, rather than close, their beaks only occurs in a minority of bird families.

Oropendolas are part of the new world blackbird family. They are found in Central and South America.

The females weave very long nests, up to two metres, which hang from tree branches. There can be up to one hundred nests in each colony. The males are larger than the females and there is one dominant male per colony who mates with all the females.

Kerrie Curzon, Collections Assistant and Lee Ismail, Curator of Natural Sciences