|by Marcia Malory|
Their range extends from Mexico to South America.
Like oropendolas, which are also Icterids, caciques live in colonies.
Both oropendolas and caciques build long, hanging sack-like nests in trees. One tree may contain many nests.
A cacique will build its nest on a branch that already contains a nest of wasps or of bees. Any egg-eating predators, such as snakes and ocelots, will be stung if they try to approach the cacique's nest to eat the eggs.
Caciques have a symbiotic relationship with bees.
A symbiotic relationship is one in which two unrelated organisms interact with one another in a way that benefits both of them.
While bees defend the cacique's nest from predators that would eat the cacique's eggs, the cacique will fight off any bird that tries to steal honey from the bees' nest.
As with oropendolas, it is the female cacique who incubates the nest and cares for the young.
Caciques, which are smaller than oropendolas, are usually black and yellow or black and red.
Caciques are omnivorous. Their diet consists of fruit and insects.