Friday, 21 December 2012

Black-headed oriole

Oriolus larvatus

Photo by Gerda van Schalkwyk (Flickr)

Common name:
black-headed oriole (en); papa-figos-de-cabeça-preta (pt); loriot masqué (fr); oropéndola enmascarada (es); maskenpirol (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Oriolidae

This species is found in sub-Saharan Africa, specially in East Africa, from Ethiopia down to South Africa, and also into Angola and northern Namibia in West Africa.

These birds are 23-27 cm long and weigh 60-70 g.

This species is found in most woodland and forest habitats within its range, especially dry forests and savannas. They are also found in mangroves, scrublands, along rivers and streams, pastures, plantations, arable land and also within urban areas.

The black-headed oriole feeds on insects, fruits, berries, seeds and nectar. They are known to take bees, caterpillars, dragonflies, damselflies and termite alates, figs, olives, bone-apples, the seeds of Brachychiton and the nectar of Aloe, Greyvillea and Erythrina latissima.

These birds breed in September-February. The nest is a deep cup made of lichen, moss, tendrils and grass woven together, placed between the stems of a fork in a horizontal branchof a tree, 6-9 m above ground. The female lays 2-3 pinkish eggs with brown and grey spots, which are incubated for 14-16 days. The chicks fledge 14-18 days after hatching.

IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This black-headed oriole has a very large breeding range and is common to fairly common, although scarce in south-east Ethiopia. This population is suspected to be expanding its range with urban development, as they readily adapt to urban environments.

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