Family New World Blackbirds (Icteridae)

Least Concern

Northern Mountain Cacique (Cacicus leucoramphus)


French: Cassique à bec blanc German: Nordandenkassike Spanish: Cacique montano norteño

Xanthornus leucoramphus


, 1845,



Formerly placed in genus Archiplanus. Often considered conspecific with C. chrysonotus, with recent evidence of possible hybridization between them from Ayacucho, Peru#R; a genetic study found that the two species represent well-diverged lineages#R, but representative samples were not from the zone of potential intergradation. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. l. leucoramphus (Bonaparte, 1845) – Andes of W Venezuela (Táchira) and Colombia (all three cordilleras) S to SE Ecuador (Loja) and extreme N Peru (Piura).
  • C. l. peruvianus J. T. Zimmer, 1924 – E slope of Andes of Peru (Amazonas S to Junín).
  • Descriptive notes

    Male 28 cm and 98 g; female 25 cm and 64·5 g (nominate). Male nominate race is mostly glossy black, with bright yellow wing patch (median and inner greater upperwing-... read more


    Noisy. Commonest calls are repetitions of loud notes with several harmonics, resembling calls of... read more


    Subtropical to temperate, humid montane forests. Reported to prefer forest with species of ... read more

    Food and feeding

    Appears to feed mostly on insects and other arthropods; stomach contents include unidentified fruits. Forages in canopy and forest edge,... read more


    Season Feb–Jul in Colombia. Apparently breeds solitarily or in small colonies: in Cundinamarca, Colombia, reported as solitary nester... read more


    No information. Possibly some altitudinal movement.

    Status and conservation

    Not assessed. Scarce or local in Venezuela and Colombia; uncommon to fairly common in Ecuador; fairly common in Peru. Has relatively large geographical range. Not reported as... read more

    Recommended citation

    Fraga, R. (2020). Northern Mountain Cacique (Cacicus leucoramphus). 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 25 February 2020).