Golden Orioles, Oriolus oriolus

Old World Orioles

Golden Oriole

The Golden Oriole, Oriolus oriolus, is the only member of the oriole family of passerine birds to breed in northern hemisphere temperate regions. It is a summer migrant to Europe and western Asia, wintering in the tropics.

It is a bird of tall deciduous trees in woodland, orchards or parks. The tiny British population breeds in commercial Black poplar plantations, notably at the RSPB Lakenheath Fen nature reserve, where a watchpoint is operated during nesting.


Description:

The male is striking in the typical oriole black and yellow plumage, but the female is a drabber green bird. Orioles are shy, and even the male is remarkably difficult to see in the dappled yellow and green leaves of the canopy.

The flight is somewhat like a thrush, strong and direct with some shallow dips over longer distances.

The name "oriole" was first recorded (in the Latin form oriolus) by Albertus Magnus in about 1250, and was stated by him to be onomatopoeic, from the song of the Golden Oriole.

The New World orioles are similar in appearance to the Oriolidae, but are icterids unrelated to the Old World birds.


Breeding / Nesting:

The neat nest is built in a fork in a tree, and contains 3-6 eggs.


Diet / Feeding:

The food is insects and fruit, found in the tree canopies where the orioles spend much of their time.


Call / Vocalization:

The call is a screech like a jay, but the song is a beautiful fluting weela-wee-ooo or or-iii-ole, unmistakable once heard.


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