Black-headed Oriole

Oriolus larvatus

The Black-headed Oriole inhabits acacia savannas, broad-leaved woodlands and montane and coastal forests, where it feeds on fruit, seeds, nectar and insects. It also recently adapted to plantations, suburban parks and gardens. Adults weigh between 60 and 80g and are about 20cm long from beak to tail-tip. They are usually seen singly or in pairs.

Black-headed Orioles breed mostly in spring and summer in South Africa. Nests are cup-shaped and built of grass, lichens and moss, usually high up in the slim forks of trees. Clutches of 2 or 3 eggs are incubated for two weeks, and the chicks fledge about two weeks after hatching.

The Black-headed Oriole occurs from Ethiopia to Angola and South Africa. In South Africa, the species is resident year-round and occurs from the Garden Route in the Western and Eastern Cape, through Kwazulu-Natal to Mpumalanga, Limpopo, Gauteng and parts of the North West Province. The IUCN considers the species of least concern, siting an increasing population and expanding distribution range.

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28 thoughts on “Black-headed Oriole

  1. kim blades, writer

    Hi guys, spectacular photos again. The black-headed and golden orioles used to be common visitors to our garden when I was a child but are another bird that have become a very rare sight in Durban gardens. Probably because of greater urbanisation and the resultant pollution or just habitat destruction and scarcity of food. It is such a shame. Kim

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    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      I wonder if the preponderance of exotic bird species in Durban might have something to do with so many species disappearing from your area, Kim? Here in Pretoria we are seeing new species adapting to the urban environment every year, which is the total opposite of what you are experiencing.

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      1. kim blades, writer

        Hello. Probably, but the bird species that seem to have increased in population are the members of the starling family – the mynahs, glossy and red-winged starling – and even the little white-eyes, sparrows and mannekins have become fewer in number. A lot of people in the northern suburbs of Durban say they have parakeets and parrot-like birds in their gardens now, which we never say years ago. A result of the breeding of caged birds that have escaped their confinement. On the actual beach itself their are far fewer of the gulls and other salt-water birds that used to be common. Pigeons and mynahs are more numerous on the beach as well!

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