Family New World Blackbirds (Icteridae)

Least Concern

Epaulet Oriole (Icterus cayanensis)


French: Oriole à épaulettes German: Epaulettentrupial Spanish: Turpial boyerito

O[riolus]. cayanensis


, 1766,

French Guiana


Often treated as conspecific with I. chrysocephalus (which see) and with I. pyrrhopterus, from which it differs in larger size, more curved bill shape, habitat selection and behaviour; the two apparently occur sympatrically in a small area in Beni (Bolivia) without interbreeding. Monotypic.


S Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana, and N Brazil (Roraima E to Amapá and, S of R Amazon, Amazonas E to N Pará) S to E Peru (Loreto S to Madre de Dios) and N Bolivia (La Paz and Beni).

Descriptive notes

c. 22 cm; male average 46 g, one female 42 g. Plumage is entirely black, except for yellow patch (epaulet) at bend of wing (lesser and median upperwing-coverts); some... read more


Song not very musical, a varied series of ascending and descending notes, also mixing clicks and... read more


Canopy and edges of primary and tall secondary forest, clearings with large trees, gallery forest,... read more

Food and feeding

Little detailed information. Feeds on insects, other arthropods, also fruits and nectar. Visits flowering Erythrina trees to... read more


Season Aug–Oct in French Guiana. Monogamous. Solitary breeder. Few nests found; nest built by both sexes, a hammock-like basket c. 40... read more


Apparently sedentary.

Status and conservation

Not assessed. Not well known. Appears to be uncommon or local throughout its reasonably extensive range.

Recommended citation

Fraga, R. (2020). Epaulet Oriole (Icterus cayanensis). 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 21 January 2020).