🐾 Maybe the reason I love animals so much, is because the only time they have broken my heart is when theirs has stopped beating.
Friday, 7 September 2012
Black-headed Oriole (Oriolus larvatus)
Be like the bird who, pausing in her flight awhile on boughs too slight, feels them give way beneath her, and yet sings, knowing she hath wings.
- Victor Hugo
Right through the winter the Black-headed Orioles have stayed in my garden, gorging themselves on the nectar of the aloes and the fruit I put on the bird tables. Their liquid calls always have me running for the camera and this chap was fairly unperturbed at my being fairly close.
Every now and then, however, he would look up just to make sure the situation hasn't changed and that I'm not too close!
The male and female are fairly undistinguishable from one another but the male is striking, with the typical oriole black and yellow colouration. The plumage is predominantly yellow, with a solid black hood, and black also in the wings and tail centre.
The female is a drabber bird with greenish underparts, but still has the black hood. Young birds are like the female, but have dark streaking on the underparts, and their hood is not solidly black, especially on the throat.
Although it has bright colours, it may still be difficult to spot, because its preferred habitat is among the foliage of high trees and thick bush, blending in with the sun and shade spots. It is likely to be heard before being seen as its liquid whistles interspersed with lowish, drawn-out screeching sounds, are loud and draw attention.
They feed mainly on fruits, insects, berries and nectar and are said to have a very quick digestion period of around 5 minutes. They will nest in trees, placed in a fork at the end of a branch. The chicks get fed on caterpillars, eventually leaving the nest after 14-18 days. There is no record of the incubation period for this bird.
Egg-laying season is from September - February. peaking from September to December.