Oriolus auratus (African golden oriole)

Afrikaanse wielewaal [Afrikaans]; Isicubujeje [Xhosa]; Nkulivere (generic term for oriole) [Kwangali]; Ndukuzani (generic term for golden oriole) [Tsonga]; Afrikaanse wielewaal [Dutch]; Loriot doré [French]; Schwarzohrpirol [German]; Papa-figos-africano [Portuguese]

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Tetrapoda (four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota > Reptilia (reptiles) > Romeriida > Diapsida > Archosauromorpha > Archosauria > Dinosauria (dinosaurs) > Saurischia > Theropoda (bipedal predatory dinosaurs) > Coelurosauria > Maniraptora > Aves (birds) > Order: Passeriformes > Family: Oriolidae

 

African golden oriole, Gambia. [photo Martin Goodey ©]

 

The African golden oriole occurs in large areas of sub-Saharan Africa, avoiding lowland forest and arid areas. In southern Africa it is widespread in the north, preferring miombo (Brachystegia) and broad-leaved Burkea woodland. It feeds on insects and fruit, mainly foraging among the tree canopy in mixed species flocks, occasionally coming down to ground level. The nest is woven cup made of dry grass and plant detritus held together with spider web, placed between the two branches of a fork, well away from the tree trunk.

Distribution and habitat

It occupies large areas of sub-Saharan Africa, absent from lowland forest and arid areas. In southern Africa it is fairly common in Zimbabwe and northerly Mozambique, Botswana and Namibia, scarce in the Limpopo Province. It prefers miombo (Brachystegia) as well as Burkea (Burkea africana) woodland, but it may also move into more arid savanna and suburban gardens.

Distribution of African golden oriole in southern Africa, based on statistical smoothing of the records from first SA Bird Atlas Project (© Animal Demography unit, University of Cape Town; smoothing by Birgit Erni and Francesca Little). Colours range from dark blue (most common) through to yellow (least common). See here for the latest distribution from the SABAP2.  

Food 

It feeds on insects and fruit, mainly foraging among the tree canopy in mixed species flocks, occasionally coming down to ground level. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:

Breeding

  • 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 metres above ground, well away from the main trunk of the tree.
Oriolus auratus (African golden oriole)  

Black-headed oriole nest with eggs, Mutinondo, Zambia. [photo Warwick Tarboton ©]

 
  • Egg-laying season is from August-January, peaking from September-November.
  • It lays 2-5, usually 2-3 eggs, which in one study were incubated for 17 days.
  • The chicks are fed by both parents, leaving the nest after at least 15 days.

Threats

Not threatened.

References

  • Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG 2005. Roberts - Birds of southern Africa, VIIth ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town. 

 

 

 

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