Venezuelan Troupial Icterus icterus


Sometimes known just as the Troupial, this is the national bird of Venezuela, so the name Venezuelan Troupial is more than appropriate. As well its distribution is largely in Venezuela, with a few found in Colombia. As well it is found on Isla Margarita in addition to Aruba and Curacao. The Venezuelan Troupial has been introduced to other places in the Caribbean, with the most successful introduction being in Puerto Rico. The three troupial species have in the past all been lumped under one species. However, the Venezuelan Troupial is the largest and in some ways the visually most unusual of all orioles. It is in shape a big and very bulky oriole with a large and long bill. It has thick and strong legs as well as a well developed long and broad tail. In some ways it looks like an Oriole trying to be a Cacique! The body is largely bright orange, with a black back, black tail and a black hood. The wings have a very big white wing stripe that is noticeable on the perched bird. The head has an odd adornment for an oriole, a patch of bare blue skin behind the eye, also unusual is that the eye is yellow. Another unusual pattern is that the breast feathers are pointed on the Venezuelan Troupial, creating a saw tooth lower edge to the hood, unlike in a typical oriole. To further remove this oriole from the category of standard, it does not build a long hanging nest but instead it uses an old nest from another species of bird. Also it is known to pirate nests, in other words it may drive away the rightful owner of the nest so that the troupial can take it over as its own. For the most part Venezuelan Troupials only take covered nests, those with some type of a roof ranging from Cacique or oropendola nests to kiskadee nests or even the stick nests of a thornbird.

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© Paul A Schwartz

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

Recommended Citation

Venezuelan Troupial (Icterus icterus), In Neotropical Birds Online (, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: