Yellow-rumped Cacique (Cacicus cela)
Yellow-rumped Cacique, Caxiuanã, Pará, Brazil, November 2005 - click for larger image Brazil

The Yellow-rumped Cacique is found in tropical South America from Panama to central Brazil. It prefers várzea forest edges, woodland and some semi-open habitats.

Yellow-rumped Cacique nests, Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil, September 2003 - click for larger image It is very gregarious and large, noisy flocks can be seen flying over Amazon rivers particularly at dawn and dusk as the flocks move from their overnight roost to their feeding grounds and back again.

They nest colonially in conspicuous hanging basket type nests which are usually built close to a wasps' nest. Yellow-rumped Cacique eggs and nestlings often fall prey to toucans and aracaris and the wasps seem to offer some protection against these predators.

Yellow-rumped Cacique, Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil, September 2003 - click for larger image Sick explains that the wasps also repel Philornis flies which are attracted in enormous numbers by the birds' smell. These flies are paratisized by a mite which then move on to the nestlings, many of whom die from the infestation.
Yellow-rumped Cacique, Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil, August 2004 - click for larger image Another danger is the Piratic Flycatcher (Legatus leucophaius) which likes to take over a Yellow-rumped Cacique nest for its own and will often chase off a cacique sitting on eggs before throwing out the eggs and setting up its own nest. This is known as "nest paratisism" as opposed to "brood paratisism" where birds will lay eggs in another species' nest and the egg will be hatched and cared for by the host species.

There are illustrations in Ridgely & Tudor, Volume 1, Plate 23; Ridgely & Greenfield, Plate 94; and Sick, Plate 39.

Yellow-rumped Cacique, Caxiuanã, Pará, Brazil, November 2005 - click for larger image
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