Bird of the Month

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This biodiversity stewardship project aims to provide formal conservation protection for the area of the Rhenosterspruit Nature Conservancy, and beyond. 

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Blackheaded Oriole (Oriolus larvatus)

July’s bird of the month is the Blackheaded Oriole (Oriolus larvatus).


Photograph courtesy of Operation Wildlflower


Colouring: Iris crimson; bill bright coral pink; legs and feet blue-grey to black; head, neck and breast glossy black; back greenish yellow; belly bright yellow; some black in wings and tail, small white stripe on wing coverts.
Voice: Liquid piping and bubbling notes; call note single short kleeu, falling in pitch, repeated several times; also bubbling klupklop, kiddlywop and variations; harsh kwaar alarm note; song jumble of rich melodious notes.
Distribution: Eastern third and Northern parts of South Africa, coastline and inland areas from the Southern Cape eastwards.
Habitat: Almost any woodland, forest edge, riverine and coastal bush, exotic plantations, parks, gardens, farmyards with big trees.
Habits: Usually solitary or in pairs; forms loose groups at good food sources (fruit, nectar). Keeps mostly to tops of tall trees; highly vocal, especially early morning. Flight fast, undulating.
Food: Insects, fruit, nectar.
Breeding season: September to February.
Clutch: Two or three eggs, rarely four or five. Eggs: Pinkish, spotted, scrolled or streaked with brown and grey in ring around thick end.
Incubation and fledging: Incubation 14 days. Nestling: 15 – 18 days.

545-Blackheaded-Oriole by Eric Stockenstroom

Photograph courtesy of Eric Stockenstroom of the RNC/Oori by Eirc Stockenstroom


Gordon Lindsay Maclean: Roberts’ Birds of Southern Africa, Sixth Edition. 1993.
Kenneth Newman: Newman’s Birds by Colour. 2000.

Text provided by Hartebeestfontein Conservancy

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