Family New World Blackbirds (Icteridae)

Least Concern

Crested Oropendola (Psarocolius decumanus)


French: Cassique huppé German: Krähenstirnvogel Spanish: Cacique crestado

Xanthornus decumanus


, 1769,



Birds from S of R Amazon sometimes treated as race maculosus (described from Yungas of Cochabamba, in Bolivia), but DNA data do not support this, showing only a certain distinctiveness for Andean populations. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. d. melanterus (Todd, 1917) – extreme S Costa Rica, Panama, and N & W Colombia (W of E Andes).
  • P. d. decumanus (Pallas, 1769) – Colombia (E of Andes), Venezuela and the Guianas, S on E slope of Andes and S across Amazonia to N & E Bolivia, NW & NE Argentina (S to Jujuy and Salta and, in E, to Formosa and Corrientes) and E Brazil (S to N & W Paraná and São Paulo).
  • P. d. insularis (Dalmas, 1900) – Trinidad and Tobago.
  • Descriptive notes

    Male average 47 cm, 284·6 g; female average 37 cm, 158 g. Male nominate race is black overall, with slight gloss, becoming chestnut on rump, uppertail-coverts and... read more


    Male song during display usually starts with low-pitched liquid notes, accelerates into variable... read more


    Edges and clearings of tropical, subtropical and lower montane forests, also in second growth,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet fruits, insects and spiders (Araneae); also small vertebrates, such as tree-frogs (Hylidae); also floral nectar. Consumes both wild... read more


    Season Jan–Jun in Venezuela and Oct–Dec in NW Argentina. Breeds in colonies of 2–43 nests, most colonies having fewer... read more


    Apparently sedentary.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common in much of range; scarcer in S of range. Recently invaded Costa Rica. Has increased in NW Argentina. Declines recorded in NE Argentina, where... read more

    Recommended citation

    Fraga, R. (2020). Crested Oropendola (Psarocolius decumanus). 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 27 January 2020).