With more than 1300 recorded bird species within its boundaries, Venezuela promises some of the best bird watching in South America. Its flora and fauna are spectacular too, but rapid growth in the bird-watching industry has taken many by surprise.
One species that you won’t have a hard time sighting is the Turpial, Venezuela’s national bird.
The Turpial is one of about 25 or so species of “New World Orioles,” but don’t let the name fool you. This South American beauty has more in common with a hawk than the bright orange Orioles we are accustomed to seeing in the U.S.
During March and September, the birds breed in a most unruly fashion, steeling the nests of other birds as a part of their reproductive ritual. Violent attacks against native nesters are common, and can even end in the Turpial ingesting the eggs of young hatchlings occupying their newly coveted home. It’s no wonder they have come to be known as the “nest pirates” of the Caribbean.