Birds in the garden (BIG) 8: the Troupial

Almost certainly the most photographed bird on the island by visitors and island residents.

ENGLISH: Venezuelan Troupial
DUTCH: Oranje Troepiaal
SCIENTIFIC: 𝘐𝘤𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘶𝘴 𝘪𝘤𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘶𝘴

The orange Troupial (sometimes called the Venezuelan Troupial) is on of the most striking birds in Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao and is therefore featured on many a brochure, leaflet and advertisement to encourage holidaymakers to come to the islands. The bright orange colors in contrast with the tight black ‘jacket’ and the striking white stripe on the wings and the black mask make the birds stand out from the gray-green of the natural vegetation. The blue skin around the yellow eye can give the animal a severe appearance.

The Troupial is a real omnivore. It feeds on fruit, seed, insects as well as eggs and young birds of other birds. And if you happen to have a package of meat thawing at an open window, you shouldn’t be surprised if holes are pierced in it with the sharp beak to get to the meat.

Troupials are known for their aggressive attitude when breeding. They sometimes use the nests of the Yellow Oriole as well as other birds nests as a breeding location, as long as the eggs can be laid in a sheltered place. If building their own nest, a place between the arms of columnar cacti is preferred, or between the spiny date tree leaves.

The Troupial can reach 25 centimetres in length and is probably the most photographed bird on Curaçao.

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