Fun Oropendola Facts For Kids

Dayna Clarke
Agu 31, 2023 By Dayna Clarke
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Monisha Kochhar
Fact-checked by Oluwapelumi Iwayemi
Oropendola facts about a unique bird.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 5.4 Min

Oropendolas are bright, colorful tropical birds that live in Costa Rica, the Caribbean, and Central America, and interestingly a distant cousin of the common blackbird. From bright yellow markings to chestnut brown and a vibrant bill to match, these birds are anything but dull.

There are several different types of Oropendola bird species, each with its unique characteristics. They live interesting lives in the rainforest and catch the attention of many bird enthusiasts due to their incredible mating dance and unusual hanging nesting patterns. The males are much larger than the dainty females, and rainforest natives use their feathers. This is just a handful of the fascinating facts about Oropendolas.

If you are looking for specific Montezuma Oropendola fun facts, keep on reading, and look at our other fact files, such as golden oriole and great green macaw, packed with fantastic facts.

Oropendola Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an Oropendola?

An Oropendola is a wild tropical bird. There are nine different types of Oropendola such as the Montezuma Oropendola, the Crested Oropendola, and the Chestnut-headed Oropendola.

What class of animal does an Oropendola belong to?

Oropendolas belong to the bird's category of the animal kingdom.

How many Oropendolas are there in the world?

According to BirdLife International, the population of Oropendolas is approximately 20000-49999, with an extensive range. Although the Oropendola population is decreasing, it is not progressing fast enough to be of conservational concern, such as a 30% decline over 10 years.

Where does an Oropendola live?

Oropendolas live in the rainforest and open woodland areas, from Southern Mexico to Costa Rica, across Central America and South America. They live in a colony of around 30 nests on average. The Oropendola nest is a very unique bird nest high in the trees. It's up to 180 cm in length and made of fibers and vines. Every Oropendola colony has a dominant male bird.

What is an Oropendola's habitat?

Oropendolas live in rainforest regions, usually near water and not too deep in the forest. They can also be found near banana plantations. They like living in a tall canopy tree, often with water nearby. The breed in hanging nest colonies.

Who does Oropendolas live with?

Oropendolas breed in a colony, they roam the rainforest in groups of around 5-20 birds. They live in trees with other birds of the same species.

How long does an Oropendola live?

In captivity, this new world species can live up to 20 years, in the wild they can live up to 35 years.

How do they reproduce?

The leading dominant male Oropendola mates with most of the female birds within the colony. This comes after a spectacular bowing display, a fascinating dance to impress the females. The female Oropendola then lays two eggs. Approximately 15 days later, the eggs hatch, and at 30 days, the young birds known as fledglings leave the nest. Their nests are an interesting sight to behold; the birds weave them with fibers that hang from a tree.

What is their conservation status?

At present, they are listed as Not Endangered and Least Concern by the IUCN.

Oropendola Fun Facts

What does Oropendolas look like?

Oropendolas are magnificent birds with rounded yellow tails. They usually have a large bill. Different species of Oropendolas come in a variety of colors. For example, the Montezuma Oropendola (Psarocolius montezuma)has blue cheeks and a pink pattern on its bill. The Crested Oropendola (Psarocolius decumanus) is mostly dark brown and black. They have a long bright yellow tail, except for two black feathers shorter than the other tail feathers.

An Oropendola.

How cute are they?

Oropendola birds are a very attractive, bright, and colorful species. The females are much smaller than the males and are very cute. Their feathers are shiny and range in color depending on the exact Oropendola genus.

How do they communicate?

Oropendolas are highly vocal birds! They can make high-pierced shrill calls, as well as mimicry. This means they can imitate other sounds and birds they hear. The Oropendola call is a shrieking sound, and when performing the mating ritual, the male bird makes a unique call. This is often described as a bubbling sound with lots of gurgling noises in-between.

How big is an Oropendola?

The males are larger than the females in both size and weight. A male bird is around 20 in (50 cm), and a female is approximately 15 in (38 cm). Their wingspan is around 18.5-20.7 (47-53 cm).

How fast can an Oropendola fly?

The exact speed Oropendolas fly isn't known, however, we do know they are very fast birds.

How much does an Oropendola weigh?

On average a male weighs 18 oz (520 g) and a female, 8.1 oz (230 g). The male weighs twice as much as the female Oropendola, and half as much as a Hyacinth Macaw!

What are the male and female names of the species?

This bird species does not have a particular term for the male or female bird.

What would you call a baby Oropendola?

A baby Oropendola is simply known as a chick or a hatchling. Then it becomes known as a nestling when it remains in the nest. After it takes flight from the trees, it is called a fledgling. Once, it has grown considerably but not yet an adult, it is known as a juvenile bird. There is no specific term for males or females.

What do they eat?

Oropendolas eat insects. However, this tropical bird species mostly prefers to feast on the fruits of the rainforest. This includes bananas, figs, papaya, and a range of berries. They also enjoy the sweet nectar from fruits and flowers.

Are they dangerous?

Oropendolas are not dangerous birds, they are very confident within their colony. As for humans, as with most wild tropical birds, they tend to shy away from people.

Would they make a good pet?

Oropendolas are wild tropical birds, they are not intended to be a pet. It is possible to find them in captivity in bird parks and zoos. Typically they breed in a colony and live in a tall tree.

Did you know...

The brightly colored feathers of the Oropendola birds are worn by many indigenous forest tribes across Central and South America. They are often worn for special ceremonies and occasions.

Different Types Of Oropendola

Oropendolas are new world tropical icterid or blackbirds. There are nine different types divided into two genera. Firstly the Psarocolius genus includes: the Dusky-green oropendola, Psarocolius atrovirens, Green oropendola, Psarocolius viridis, Crested oropendola (Psarocolius decumanus), Black oropendola (Psarocolius guatimozinus), Chestnut-headed oropendola (Psarocolius wagleri), and Russet-backed oropendola (Psarocolius angustifrons).

Four slightly different types of Oropendola are categorized in the genus Gymnostinops. However many ornithologists often disagree about their grouping. These are: the Baudo oropendola (Psarocolius cassini), Olive oropendola (Psarocolius bifasciatus), and Montezuma oropendola (Psarocolius montezuma).

How To Pronounce Oropendola

Some people pronounce the word as ‘Orp-end-oh-la’, however, most linguists agree on the way to say the name is ‘Oruh-pend-oh-lah’.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds including the Golden-crowned sparrow or red-crowned crane.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our Oropendola coloring pages.

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Written by Dayna Clarke

Bachelor's degree specializing in Speech Therapy and Psychology, Postgraduate degree specializing in Dysphagia

Dayna Clarke picture

Dayna ClarkeBachelor's degree specializing in Speech Therapy and Psychology, Postgraduate degree specializing in Dysphagia

A true "linguaphile," Dayna's upbringing in rural Devon exposed her to three languages spoken at home. After pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Speech-Language Pathology at the University of Reading, she embarked on a fulfilling career as a Speech and Language Therapist, specializing in early intervention for children with special educational needs. Additionally, she provides support to adults and teenagers dealing with dysfluency. She also has a postgraduate degree in Dysphagia from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.

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