Unusual Crested Oropendola Behavior

Crested Oropendola closeup in bush

Here's the most unusual Crested Oropendola behavior you'll ever see - an Oropendola approaching a group of humans.

The reason for this very uncharacteristic behavior?   We're at the Asa Wright Nature Centre, and this bird has dropped in for a free lunch at the feeding tables.

As someone noted, after 35 years of watching other birds get something for nothing, even an Oropendola will give it a try.

This photo isn't everything it should be, but I love that deep blue eye!

Crested Oropendola closeup from above

In fact, all of the photos on this page were taken at Asa Wright, and I'd better warn you now that the behavior becomes less and less unusual as we proceed.

For example, this next sequence of photos is more lucky than unusual - it's a male Crested Oropendola doing a display for the benefit of his lady love.

To start the display, he announces his presence by landing heavily on the nest containing the female - after all, there's no point doing a display if no-one's paying attention!

male Crested Oropendola starting to display on a nest
male Crested Oropendola displaying upside down on a nest

Now, let's think, what's the best way to do this display?

Of course, hanging upside down on the nest while swinging it to the side!

Ach, that's wearing a bit thin.   Let's move up a bit and see what we can do there...

male Crested Oropendola climbing up the nest
male Oropendola flapping around at the top of the nest

Up, and over the top, that's better!

(the female probably thinks so too, now that's he's off the nest)

Yeah, that's more like it!



male Oropendola displaying above the nest
giant cowbird interfering with Crested Oropendola nest

OK, we've reached the bottom of the barrel, and not only is this behavior not unusual (at least in this part of the world), but it's not even Crested Oropendola behavior.

It's pretty hard to make out, but this Oropendola nest is under attack.

At the very top of the nest is a giant cowbird, and like its cousin in the USA, the brown-headed cowbird, it's parasitic.   They lay their eggs in the Oropendola nest and let the oropendolas do all the work of raising the young.

Just in case you still can't make out the cowbird, here it is outlined in purple.

giant cowbird outlined on top of an oropendola nest