An Eco-sustainable World
BirdsSpecies Animal

Oriolus oriolus

Oriolus oriolus

The Eurasian golden oriole or common golden oriole (Oriolus oriolus Linnaeus, 1758) is a bird belonging to the Oriolidae family.

Systematic –
From a systematic point of view it belongs to:
Eukaryota domain,
Kingdom Animalia,
Subkingdom Eumetazoa,
Phylum Chordata,
Subphylum Vertebrata,
Superclass Tetrapoda,
Aves class,
Subclass Neornithes,
Order Passeriformes,
Suborder Oscines,
Family Oriolidae,
Genus Oriolus,
Species O. oriolus.
The term is basic:
– Coracias oriolus Linnaeus, 1758.
The terms are synonymous:
– Coracias spec Linnaeus, 1758;
– Oriolus galbula Linnaeus.

Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
The Oriolus oriolus is a bird whose distribution range is in Europe, Asia and Africa.
The breeding range of this species extends from western Europe and eastern Scandinavia to China. The species winters in central and southern Africa. It generally migrates at night, but may travel during the day during spring migration. During the autumn migration it migrates across the eastern Mediterranean where it feeds on fruits.
In Italy it is present in almost the entire territory (except Sardinia) and its habitat consists of broad-leaved forests below 1800 meters above sea level, but it is also found in cities.
Its habitat is quite varied. In Western Europe these birds prefer open deciduous forests and plantations, copses, riverine forests, orchards, large gardens; in Eastern Europe they can inhabit more continuous forests as well as mixed or coniferous forests. They generally avoid treeless habitats but may forage there. In their wintering habitat they are found in semi-arid to humid woodland, tall forest, riverine forest, woodland/savanna mosaic, and savanna.

Description –
The Oriolus oriolus is a bird with a length of about 24 cm. With a wingspan of 43-48 cm, for a weight of around 70 grams.
The species presents an evident sexual dimorphism with the male having an unmistakable livery, bright yellow in color with black wings and tail. The female and the young are pale green-yellow with dark wings and tail; the lower parts are streaked with light grey. The female can be confused with the Picus viridis from which it is easily recognized by the absence of red on the head.
Its call is a harsh kweeaahk but the song is a weela-wee-ooo or or-iii-ole call, unmistakable once heard, often with subtle variations between each phrase.

Biology –
Oriolus oriolus can delay reproduction until the age of 2 or 3 years. Males usually arrive at the breeding area several days before females. Fidelity to a territory or even to a specific nesting site suggests that pair bonding may continue from one breeding season to the next.
This bird nests between May and June.
The nest is made high up in a tree towards the edge of the canopy. The nest is deep, cup-shaped, and is suspended beneath a horizontal fork of thin branches. It is built by the female, but sometimes the male collects some of the material. The nest is held in place by plant fibers up to 40 cm long and lined with fine grass, feathers and wool.
The clutch usually consists of 3 to 5 eggs. These are laid at daily intervals early in the morning. The eggs measure on average 30.4 mm × 21.3 mm with a calculated weight of 7.3 grams and can have white, cream or very pale pink colors and are decorated with black spots, sometimes concentrated in the largest part.
The eggs are incubated primarily by the female, but the male incubates them for short periods to allow the female to feed. The eggs hatch after 16-17 days.
The young are fed by both parents but are mostly brooded by the female.
The brood is only rarely lost to predators as the parents vigorously defend their nest.
The maximum age recorded for this species is 10 years 1 month for a male ringed in Lincolnshire in 1986 and seen alive in Cambridgeshire in 1996.

Ecological Role –
The Oriolus oriolus is a shy bird and even the male is extraordinarily difficult to see among the leaves, with its bright yellow colour.
In flight they look a bit like thrushes, strong and direct, with some shallow diving over longer distances.
These birds have diurnal habits; they spend most of their time searching for food among the low branches, on the ground or in the undergrowth, proving to be quite lively even if very shy and easily frightened: they disappear into the thick vegetation or fly away at the slightest disturbance. Outside of the reproductive period they tolerate the presence of conspecifics well, however it is rare to see groups or flocks of them (it can occur during lean periods near food sources), while it is common to observe these birds in pairs, with the two partners they are extremely tender and affectionate.
They are fond of insects, their eggs and larvae, as well as small invertebrates. They also supplement their diet with vegetables, such as buds, berries, flowers and fruits (especially apple and hawthorn, which is sought before reproduction to accumulate energy). They use their beaks to collect insects from crevices.
Regarding their conservation status, these birds are present over a fairly large range with large apparently stable populations. Therefore, they are rated as least concern by BirdLife International.

Guido Bissanti

– Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
– GBIF, the Global Biodiversity Information Facility.
– C.Battisti, D. Taffon, F. Giucca, 2008. Atlas of nesting birds, Gangemi Editore, Rome.
– L. Svensson, K.Mullarney, D. Zetterstrom, 1999. Guide to the Birds of Europe, North Africa and the Near East, Harper Collins Publisher, United Kingdom.

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