Tuesday, 18 January 2011

African golden oriole

Oriolus auratus

Photo by Martin Goodey (Biodiversity Explorer)

Common name:
African golden oriole (en); papa-figos-africano (pt); loriot doré (fr); oropéndola africana (es); schwarzohrpirol (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Oriolidae

This species is found is most of sub-Saharan Africa, from the Sahel region in the north, down through Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania, into southern D.R. Congo, Angola, Zambia and Malawi, and down south to northern Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, western Mozambique and north-eastern South Africa.

African golden orioles are 24 cm long and weigh 75 g.

They are found in thick bush and well wooded areas, namely miombo Brachystegia sp. and Burkea Burkea africana woodland, and also in more arid savanna and suburban gardens.

It feeds on insects and fruit, mainly foraging among the tree canopy. They mostly take figs and guarris, and locusts, caterpillars and flies.

The African golden oriole breeds in August-January, with a peak in September-November. The nest is woven cup made of dry grass and plant detritus held together with spider web, about 8-9 cm wide and 5.0-5.5 cm deep. It is slung between the two branches of a fork, usually 5-13 m above ground, well away from the main trunk of the tree. The female lays 2-5 eggs, which are incubated for 17 days. The chicks are fed by both parents until fledging, which takes place 15 days after hatching.

IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
The species is described as generally common over its very large breeding range. There is no evidence for any declines or substantial threats so the species is not considered threatened at present.

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