Many have heard of such a small songbird as the Oriole, but they have a very vague idea of its appearance. The image of the common oriole is very extravagant, bright and saturated, and the roulades performed by it simply fascinate and pacify. Let's take a closer look at the life of these amazing birds, paying attention not only to external features, but also to the character, habits and favorite habitats.
Origin of the species and description
The common oriole is a medium-sized songbird belonging to the oriole family of the same name, the order of passeriformes and the oriole genus. The oriole is characterized by juicy and bright plumage. It is the only representative of its large family that has chosen the northern hemisphere with a temperate climate.
Regarding the origin of the name of the bird, there is a version concerning the scientific name of the bird and a version relating to the Russian name of the bird. In Latin, the bird was named Oriolus, which comes from the word “aureolus”, which is translated from Latin as “gold”, apparently, the scientific name of the bird characterizes the color of its plumage. With regards to the Russian name “oriole”, there are suggestions that it comes from the words “moisture” and “vologa”. The Slavs had a belief that the appearance of the Oriole is due to the fact that the weather will change to rainy.
There is a traditional opinion among ornithologists that the closest relatives of the Oriole family are:
- corvids ;
The dimensions of the oriole slightly exceed the size of the starling, the length of the feathered body is about 25 cm, and the weight varies from 50 to 90 grams with a wingspan of 45 cm. Ornithologists have identified two subspecies of the common oriole, which have some external differences:
- o. kundoo Sykes differs from the other subspecies in that the bird's second flight feather is the same size as the fifth, and there is a black spot behind the eye, and the outer tail feathers are also black. This subspecies has chosen Central Asia, Kazakhstan, Afghanistan;
- o. oriolus Linnaeus is characterized by the fact that the second flight feather is longer than the fifth, there is no black spot behind the eye, and the outer tail feathers are black. The bird inhabits Europe, the African continent, Kazakhstan, Siberia and India.
Appearance and features
The difference between the sexes in the common oriole is characterized by bird colors. Males look more bright and saturated, their color is dominated by a juicy golden yellow hue with a contrasting black tail and wings. Also, the wings and tail have a fringing in the form of yellow spots. From the beak to the eye area there is a black stripe, its length depends on the feathered subspecies. The color of the females is greenish-yellow in the upper dorsal part and whitish below, where dark longitudinal streaks are visible. The wings are gray-green.
The body of the common oriole has an elongated shape. A powerful beak of sufficient length, painted in a reddish-brown tone, is clearly visible on the head. The iris of the eye in birds also has a reddish tint. Young growth is more similar in appearance to females, its color is duller with a predominance of dark shades and variegation in the abdominal part. The flight of the bird is quite swift and undulating, its average speed varies from 40 to 45 kilometers per hour. In open areas, birds appear infrequently, preferring to be in the lush and spreading branches of trees.
Interesting fact: The restless common oriole can reach quite a high speed when flying, reaching up to 70 kilometers per hour.
The variety of the sound range of the common oriole is simply amazing. The singing roulades of the common oriole resemble the iridescent sounds of a flute, enchanting the ear. However, sometimes the bird also makes not very harmonious exclamations, which are not so pleasant. The common oriole can produce raspy notes, and cat-like calls herald imminent threat.
Where does the common oriole live?
The common oriole is quite widespread. Birds prefer a temperate climate, avoiding both too low and high temperatures that they do not tolerate well, because of this they are most settled in the northern hemisphere.
A large number of these birds have chosen the expanses of Europe, occupying:
Oriole can also be found in the south of England, on the island archipelago of Scilly. In small numbers, birds live in Madeira and the Azores. Orioles are very rare in the British Isles.
Common orioles also registered in Asian territories, occupying mainly their western regions. You can see birds in the spaces of the Western Sayan, Bangladesh, India. Songbirds love to settle in the Yenisei valley. The common oriole is a migratory bird, only birds living in India do not make long flights, apparently due to suitable climatic conditions.
Common orioles love to live in deciduous forests, where the humidity is quite high. They choose birch, poplar and willow groves. Where hot weather prevails, they settle in shady places near rivers, where dense shrubbery extends. Birds spend most of their time in branched crowns, where they feel most secure. In the mountains, you can also meet the oriole, but this happens quite rarely.
Fun fact: Orioles do not avoid humans, often living near human settlements, parks, gardens, and roadside forests.
What does Oriole eat?
The menu of the common oriole depends on the region of the feathered settlement, season, specific time of day and subspecies birds. For the most part, it consists of all kinds of insects, the list of which includes those that exclusively feed on ordinary orioles and cuckoos.
Regarding insects, the oriole snacks on:
- various tree beetles;
Interesting fact: Orioles are of great benefit to trees by eating hairy caterpillars, which cause great damage to vegetation. Because of the poisonous hairs, other birds do not include them in their diet.
The oriole can grab its bite right on the fly, birds find some insects in dense crowns. These birds are able to extract their dinner from under the bark, because they have powerful and pointed beaks. Insects can make up about 90 percent of all food eaten per day, depending on the season.
When the harvest is ripe, a sufficient amount of fruits and berries appear on the bird's menu:
- bird cherry;
It cannot be said that the common oriole is too voracious, the bird eats a little. A noticeable increase in appetite is observed only in the wedding season. At this time, large dragonflies, earwigs, forest bugs are used. Very rarely, but still it happens that ordinary orioles destroy the nests of small birds (flycatchers, redstarts). Most often, an ordinary oriole takes food only in the morning, the rest of the time it is engaged in important bird affairs, but sometimes it can freeze a worm.
Peculiarities of character and lifestyle
Orioles inhabiting Europe usually return from wintering in the first half of May. The males are the first to arrive, trying to occupy their former habitable places. After a few days, the females also come up. With the exception of the wedding season, common orioles prefer to live alone, although there are feathered pairs that are inseparable all their lives. Orioles try to avoid open spaces, making short flights between trees, so seeing an oriole in the forest is a rarity. You can only recognize her by singing.
Although the Oriole is very agile and agile, it strives for a calm and measured life in a branched crown, avoiding excessive fuss. The common oriole is a peaceful and friendly bird that is not afraid of the human neighborhood. Often, this feathered one keeps apart from other varieties of birds, because. does not like to be intrusive. The aggressive nature of the oriole can only manifest itself when someone threatens its offspring or masonry.
An interesting fact: Orioles love to swim, they love water very much, because it gives not only a cooling effect, but also a lot of fun with these birds. This shows their resemblance to swallows.
As already mentioned, it is not possible to see the oriole in the forest (the bird hides in dense growth), but you can admire it in the territories of gardens and park areas. Orioles do not shy away from people and in various states settle next to human dwellings in whole numerous populations. The main conditions for their cloudless bird life are the presence of a sufficient amount of food and a water source nearby.
Social structure and reproduction
The breeding bird season cannot be called early, because ordinary orioles return from wintering, when green foliage is already everywhere around. It is difficult to determine the exact period of its onset, because. timing varies in different regions. Cavaliers are trying in every possible way to show themselves in front of the females, it is not for nothing that they have such an extravagant costume. Romantic feathered suitors try to beautifully look after the ladies, bursting into melodic trills. Sometimes marriage battles happen between gentlemen, because grooms are very jealous and carefully protect not only their partner, but also the occupied territory. These birds can be called monogamous, because most often couples are created for life.
An interesting fact: During the wedding season, males sing relentlessly, but the rest of the time this happens extremely rarely, most often, when the humidity level rises, so they are popularly considered the harbingers of rain.
After you managed to win the partner's heart, it's time to look for a secluded nesting place and start building it. Orioles build nests high in the branches, choosing their horizontal forks, located away from the trunks. The bird's nest looks like a wicker basket of not very large size. The bearing bases of the oriole structure are carefully glued to the fork of the tree, using their saliva. After that, weaving of the outer walls begins, which consist of plant fibers, straws, grass stalks, dry foliage, animal hair, insect cocoons, moss, birch bark. From the inside, birds line the nest using fluff, cobwebs, moss and feathers.
Construction and arrangement of the nest takes a little over a week, then the female begins to lay eggs. The clutch contains 3 – 4 eggs that have a pinkish or creamy hue with rare burgundy specks on the shell. The incubation period lasts about two weeks, all this time the female practically does not leave the nest, and the future father takes care of her food.
Usually, the chicks hatch in June, mother oriole carefully protects them from cold, wind and bad weather, covering them with her body. At first, the father is the only food earner. Both the male and the female bring food to slightly grown babies. Already at the age of two weeks, babies try to fly, leaving their nest. They still cannot hunt, so their parents continue to treat them even after they are already firmly on the wing, they are such caring birds. The life span measured by nature for orioles depends on many factors and ranges from 8 to 15 years.
Natural enemies of the Oriole
The vital activity of an ordinary oriole favors the fact that natural enemies can rarely approach it, even though the bird is not large and very bright. Orioles spend the lion's share of their bird time in the dense crowns of trees at a considerable height, where it is not so easy to get them. In addition, they feed in the early morning, and during the day you will not see them looking for food. Basically, the enemies of the oriole are large birds of prey, which have figured out how to find an approach to the bird in order to have a bite to eat.
Such ill-wishers include:
Other birds, larger than the common oriole, sometimes make predatory attacks on their nests. The brave oriole goes into battle in such cases, fighting with enemies for its chicks or egg clutch.
An attack by other animals on an ordinary oriole is a rarity, it can even be called an accident. They can attack while swimming, picking berries or fruits. Orioles become most vulnerable during the mating season, when males lure females or a couple is fond of building a nest. Then caution returns to the birds, which carefully monitor their well-camouflaged nest located in a hard-to-reach place.
A person can also be counted among the enemies of the common oriole, because, due to his economic activity, he often invades their places of deployment , displaces birds from their usual territories, pollutes the environment, which negatively affects bird life.
Population and species status
The common oriole is considered to be a fairly numerous species, so conservation organizations do not show concern about the number of this bird. The populations of birds living in different regions are quite large, they do not experience any extremely dangerous threats. According to the IUCN, the population of the common oriole is not threatened, and in the International Red Book the bird has the status of minimal risk, being in the category of species of least concern.
Despite the fact that the population of the common oriole is quite stable, nevertheless, recently it has been slightly, but decreasing. This is due to a number of anthropogenic impacts: environmental degradation, deforestation, urban sprawl, construction of new highways, etc.
According to ornithologists, stability in the population of the common oriole exists due to the fact that the bird very cautious, builds nests in hard-to-reach places, so her offspring have a high survival rate. The common oriole rarely appears in open spaces, and its life expectancy is not at all short. All these factors have a positive effect on the population of these birds, maintaining it at the proper, numerous level, which is important.
In the end, I would like to add that a favorable situation with the population size is very encouraging. The common oriole acts as a garden and forest orderly, protecting trees from harmful and dangerous caterpillars. It is a rare pleasure to contemplate the beautiful oriole in the forest thicket, but you can fully enjoy the bright bird view by looking at the bright photographs that are easy to find on the Internet.