Yellowbilled cacique

Amblycercus holosericeus

TAXONOMY

Sturnus holosericeus Deppe, 1830, Veracruz, Mexico. OTHER COMMON NAMES

French: Cassique a bec jaune; German: Gelbschnabelkassike; Spanish: Charro Piquihueso; Cacique Piquiclaro; Pico de Plata.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

8.5-10 in (22-25 cm); female 2 oz (56 g), male 2.5 oz (71 g). Sexes similar in color. Entirely black, with a whitish yellow bill; eyes yellow.

DISTRIBUTION

Resident from coastal eastern Mexico south to northern Colombia; in South America in the mountains from northern Venezuela south to northern Bolivia.

HABITAT

Lowland and montane evergreen forests; secondary forests to 9,800 ft (3,000 m). In the highlands, it is characteristic of bamboo thickets.

BEHAVIOR

The yellow-billed cacique is a skulking bird of dense undergrowth. They typically wander in the undergrowth in pairs or family groups.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Forage mostly in low thickets where they poke into rolled leaves, bamboo shoots, or hammer at branches to get insects. They have been observed following army ants to pick up insect prey.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Monogamous. Nests are a cup of leaves and vines, placed within 3 ft (1 m) of the ground. Generally 1-2 eggs are laid. Breeding season varies geographically; in Costa Rica nesting takes place in February-June; in South America, in NovemberApril. Incubation and fledging times not reported.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened. They are locally common in thickets, clearings and second growth, habitats that are created by clearing of primary forests.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

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