Family New World Blackbirds (Icteridae)

Least Concern

Black-tailed Cacique (Cacicus flavicrissus)


French: Cassique vitellin German: Flügelfleckkassike Spanish: Cacique colinegro

Cassiculus flavicrissus

P. L. Sclater

, 1860,

Babahoyo, Ecuador


Hitherto treated as conspecific with C. cela, from which it is deeply divergent genetically#R; further differs by (in race vitellinus) its richer yellow rump (1) and smaller yellow shoulder-patches (1) or (nominate race) smaller size (at least 1); and (both subspecies) absence of yellow on outer rectrices, so that yellow of rump is separated from black of tail in straight line (2); song that ends with a rather sharp-sounding note at fairly high but flat pitch vs song ending with lower-pitched and slurred last notes (2); and absence of second song type (which in C. cela consists of an extremely varied performance that can last for minutes and includes different loud whistles and screeches, many of which are clear mimicry of local birds and other sounds) (3)#R. Species name previously listed herein as "C. vitellinus", but name flavicrissus has priority. Two subspecies recognized.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.
Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. f. vitellinus#R Lawrence, 1864 – C Panama S to N & C Colombia (Santa Marta, Tolima).
  • C. f. flavicrissus#R (P. L. Sclater, 1860) – W Ecuador (N to W Esmeraldas) and extreme NW Peru (Tumbes).
  • Descriptive notes

    :Male 27–29 cm, c. 95–121 g; female 22–23 cm (all race race vitellinus). Male nominate race is mostly black with slight bluish gloss; lower back, rump,... read more


    Males not known to mimic. Song of nominate is series of honking whistles and squeaks, which may be... read more


    Forest and forest edge, gallery forest, second growth, savanna, plantations, and pastures with... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects and other arthropods, small vertebrates, fruits and nectar. Recorded stomach contents include caterpillars, ants, weevils and other... read more


    Breeds in (Jan–) Apr–May in Panama (race vitellinus). Male successively polygynous, pair-bond lasting until egg-laying. Colonial... read more


    Mostly resident. In W Ecuador, populations of flavicrissus observed in xeric deciduous... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern).Widely distributed and rather abundant, although considered rare in NW Peru. Suffers a certain amount of exploitation for food, and... read more

    Recommended citation

    del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Elliott, A. (2020). Black-tailed Cacique (Cacicus flavicrissus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 28 January 2020).