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The Zanate

Posted: 2013-07-10

Known as quiscal or zanate (Quiscalus mexicanus), this bird is often mistaken for a raven, although it has nothing to do with one.

We can find this species all over the range of territory from the United States to Peru. It is a very common species in these regions and it is slowly (but steadily) expanding its territory. It usually lives in agricultural areas and suburbs, where it feeds with fruits, seeds and invertebrates. Males can measure 43 cm in length, with a tail almost as long as its entire body. They weigh around 230 g and feature black feathers with an iridescent gloss. Females, however, are smaller. They measure up to 33 cm in length, 125 g in weight, and have brown, matte feathers.

These species have a wide range of strong and strident sounds. In the Yucatán Peninsula, “kau”, “kauyz” or “x’kau” are its Mayan names. Males are called “tzokau”. These birds are extremely intelligent and have adapted perfectly to take advantage of the resources found in most hotels of the zone. A very common sight is to see them flee with fried potatoes and individual sugar or ketchup bags in their beak.