Bolivian Blackbird Oreopsar bolivianus

  • © Paul B. Jones

The Bolivian Blackbird is endemic to Bolivia, in fact it is the only genus endemic to that country. While it may look like various all-black icterids, molecular data strongly suggests that its closest relative is the Bay-winged Cowbird (Agelaioides badius). Their vocalizations also suggest a close relationship. Bolivian Blackbirds are found in various inter-montane dry valleys in the interior of Bolivia. In fact it likes habitats with a preponderance of tall columnar cacti and very unusually it nests in crevices on cliffs! It is the only obligate cliff-nesting icterid. It is usually found in small flocks, and these break up to a certain extent during the breeding season. However, there is evidence that there may be helpers at the nest, similar to that of the Bay-winged Cowbird. In parts of Bolivia, this species can be found with the Bay-winged Cowbird where their behavior can be rather similar. Although entirely black, with dark eyes, in flight this species shows brownish wings and in some situations this paler, browner wing coloration can really stand out. Although much of the habitat this restricted range blackbird likes has been heavily impacted, it appears to adapt well to agricultural development as long as nesting areas are not touched, and some cacti and taller shrubs or trees remain in the habitat.

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© Paul Coopmans

  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-breeding

Recommended Citation

Bolivian Blackbird (Oreopsar bolivianus), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: