email a friend
printable version
Baudo Oropendola Psarocolius cassini
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
Please email us with any relevant information
BirdLife Species Champion Become a BirdLife Preventing Extinctions Programme Supporter
For information about BirdLife Species Champions and Species Guardians visit the BirdLife Preventing Extinctions Programme.

This species has a small range, with recent records from only two locations. Habitat loss is continuing and the population is therefore likely to be declining (Collar et al. 1992). It is consequently listed as Endangered. If it is found to be more widespread, the species may warrant downlisting to Vulnerable.

Taxonomic source(s)
SACC. 2006. A classification of the bird species of South America. Available at: #

Gymnostinops cassini Sibley and Monroe (1990, 1993)

46 cm. Large, black-and-chestnut, crow-like icterid. Black with rich chestnut back, flanks and closed wings (blackish primary tips only). Bare pink cheek patch. Lemon-yellow tail with blackish central tail-feathers. Long, black, conical bill, tipped orange-red. Similar species Black Oropendola P. guatimozinus only reliably distinguished by bare blue cheek patch, pink wattle and culmen base. Voice Two-part song. Series of bubbly, tinkling notes overlaid by metallic sounds followed by loud, liquid gurgle skol-l-l-l-l-wool. Nasal wak call.

Distribution and population
Psarocolius cassini is known from the foothills and lowlands around the serranías de los Saltos and de Baudó, Chocó, north-west Colombia, where four specimens were taken in 1858, 1940 and 1945. Until recently, the only sightings were from a nesting colony at the headwaters of the río Acandí in 1991 (Renjifo et al. 2002), and north of Ensenada de Utría National Park in 1997 and 1999, when two and six individuals respectively were seen (Strewe 1999). However, two groups of 7-12 individuals were seen in the Siviru and Tipicay river basins, and 60 inactive nests documented (Fundación ProAves 2008). Its occurrence in the río Juradó valley has never been documented, and this area should not be considered a valid locality (Renjifo et al. 2002).

Population justification
The species is considered rare and localised, but it is also poorly known. The population is provisionally estimated to number 1,000-2,499 individuals, but this requires confirmation. The estimate equates to 667-1,666 mature individuals, roudned here to 600-1,700 mature individuals.

Trend justification
Although there is no new information on population size or trend, habitat degradation is continuing within the small range, suggesting that the population is likely to be in decline.

It inhabits humid lowland forest and edge at 100-365 m. It has been observed along rivers, and most recently on a sandy-soiled coastal plain (Strewe 1999). It may exhibit edaphic habitat specialisation and/or prefer primary forests with a naturally broken canopy, including very tall emergents in which feeding has been noted (Strewe 1999). Groups of 2-12 birds forage for fruit and insects in the canopy (Strewe 1999) (Fundación ProAves 2008). Two individuals seen in 1997 associated with a flock of c.25 Chestnut-headed Oropendola P. wagleri (Strewe 1999). The breeding season is probably May-June (Jaramillo and Burke 1999). Recently, 60 inactive nests were found between 19 and 20 metres above the ground in peach palms Bactris gasipaes and Guazuma ulmifolia trees, located in a transitional habitat between mature forest and banana plantations, on the banks of the Tripicay river (Fundación ProAves 2008).

It is thought to prefer forests along rivers and coastal plains, which are traditionally the first areas to be deforested (Strewe 1999). The development programmes for the Pacific region involve greatly expanding the road network, promoting human immigration and settlement, logging, agricultural expansion and mining (Dinerstein et al. 1995, Wege and Long 1995, WWF and IUCN 1994-1997, Strewe 1999). Conversion to oil palm plantations is a major current threat (C. Downing in litt. 2007). In the area north of Ensenada de Utría, a striking increase in logging (especially of large emergents), agricultural activity and road-building, notably the bridging of a large river, was noted between 1997 and 1999 (Strewe 1999). This species is also trapped for food and for the cagebird trade (Fundación ProAves 2008). Plans to create an interoceanic canal and complete the Pan-American highway across the Darién Gap have been halted, but if re-started this would have a severe impact on forests and birds in the region (Dinerstein et al. 1995, Wege and Long 1995, WWF and IUCN 1994-1997).

Conservation Actions Underway
Ensenada de Utría National Park is near the most recent site and one of the old specimen localities, but the closed-canopy forest there may not be favoured by the species (Strewe 1999). A number of natural biotic areas/anthropogenic reserves are located within its range (IUCN 1992) and could contribute to its protection. Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct surveys to elucidate its distribution as a priority. Research its ecology, especially aspects related to conservation, such as precise habitat requirements. Ensure effective protection of the two currently known sites. Advocate conservation measures within natural biotic areas/anthropogenic reserves.

Collar, N. J.; Gonzaga, L. P.; Krabbe, N.; Madroño Nieto, A.; Naranjo, L. G.; Parker, T. A.; Wege, D. C. 1992. Threatened birds of the Americas: the ICBP/IUCN Red Data Book. International Council for Bird Preservation, Cambridge, U.K.

Dinerstein, E.; Olson, D. M.; Graham, D. J.; Webster, A. L.; Primm, S. A.; Bookbinder, M. P.; Ledec, G. 1995. A conservation assesssment of the terrestrial ecoregions of Latin America and the Caribbean. World Bank, Washington, D.C.

Fundación ProAves. 2008. Approximation to ecology, population status and conservation of the Baudó Oropendola (Psarocolius cassini) in the department of Choco in the northwest of Colombia. Unpublished report.

IUCN. 1992. Protected areas of the world: a review of national systems. International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, U.K.

Jaramillo, A.; Burke, P. 1999. New World blackbirds: the icterids. Christopher Helm, London.

Renjifo, L. M.; Franco-Maya, A. M.; Amaya-Espinel, J. D.; Kattan, G. H.; López-Lans, B. 2002. Libro rojo de aves de Colombia. Instituto de Investigación de Recursos Biológicos Alexander von Humboldt y Ministerio del Medio Ambiente, Bogot, Colombia.

Strewe, R. 1999. Notes on the rediscovery of the Baudó Oropendula Psaracolius cassini in Chocó, Colombia. Cotinga 12: 40-46.

Wege, D. C.; Long, A. J. 1995. Key Areas for threatened birds in the Neotropics. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.

WWF/IUCN. 1994-1997. Centres of plant diversity. A guide and strategy for their conservation. IUCN, Cambridge, UK.

Further web sources of information
Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE) species/site profile. This species has been identified as an AZE trigger due to its IUCN Red List status and limited range.

Detailed species account from the Threatened birds of the Americas: the BirdLife International Red Data Book (BirdLife International 1992). Please note taxonomic treatment and IUCN Red List category may have changed since publication.

Detailed species account from the Threatened birds of the Americas: the BirdLife International Red Data Book (BirdLife International 1992). Please note, taxonomic treatment and IUCN Red List category may have changed since publication.

Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Recuento detallado de la especie tomado del libro Aves Amenazadas de las Americas, Libro Rojo de BirdLife International (BirdLife International 1992). Nota: la taxonomoía y la categoría de la Lista Roja de la UICN pudo haber cambiado desde esta publicación.

View photos and videos and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Gilroy, J., Pople, R., Sharpe, C J

Downing, C., Caro, D.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Psarocolius cassini. Downloaded from on 26/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 26/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - Baudo oropendola (Psarocolius cassini) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Endangered
Family Icteridae (New World blackbirds)
Species name author Richmond, 1898
Population size 600-1700 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 4,570 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species