Troupial (Icterus icterus) - Wiki
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[Photo] Photograph of a Common Troupial (Icterus icterus) taken at the Nashville Zoo (Tennessee, USA). Date 2007-04-18. Author Peter Meenen.
|Copyright (C) 2007 Peter Meenen|
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, also known as Icterus icterus
is the national bird of Venezuela and one of about 25 or so species of "New World Oriole
s". It is fairly large in size, with a long tail and a bulky bill. It has a black head and upper breast. The feathers on the front of the neck and upper breast stick outward, making an uneven boundary between the black and the orange of the bird's lower breast and underside. The rest of the orange color is found on the upper and lower back, separated by the black shoulders. The wings are mostly black except for a white streak that runs the length of the wing when in a closed position. The eyes are yellow, and surrounding each one, there is a patch of bright, blue, naked skin.
In addition to the description above, there are two concrete subspecies (I. i. metae and I. i. ridgwayi) as well as two more controversial subspecies (I. i. croconotus and I. i. jamacaii). Individuals of I. i. metae have more orange on the back and a black line that divides the lengthwise white wing-stripe in half. Individuals of I. i. ridgwayi are generally stronger and larger in proportion to the other subspecies.
s inhabit dry areas like woodlands, gallery forest, dry scrub, llanos and open savannah where they forage for insects and a wide variety of fruit. Generally they can be found in central South America with some of the subspecies to the northern and eastern extremes of the continent.
The adults breed between the months of March and September, and seek out nests of other birds as part of their reproductive cycle. Troupial
s are obligate nest pirates, meaning they make no nest of their own, and are thus required to steal or occupy a vacant nest in order to survive. Troupial
s are capable of violent attacks against native nesters, and once they possess these territories they defend them fiercely against intruders. They may even ingest the eggs or young hatchling
s of a newly acquired nest. Eventually they go on to produce about 3 to 4 eggs of their own, and after about two weeks of incubation, they have nestlings.
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