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A distinctive call

November 13, 2013

OrioleOne of the distinctive sounds of the spring/summer period in this district is the far-carrying and repetitive call of the
Olive-backed Oriole (Oriolus sagittatus) which could be interpreted as a hesitant attempt to pronounce its name: “ori-ori-ole”.
[Click on the audio bar below to hear this call].
The similarity of the call to the name is coincidental rather than deliberate, since “oriole” actually comes from the genus name Oriolus meaning “golden (bird)”, a description more suited to other oriole species not found here: the Yellow Oriole and the Figbird.

The Olive-backed Oriole is a medium-sized arboreal bird that can be difficult to detect among green foliage and is usually heard before being seen. It feeds on fruit and insects. In autumn our orioles will head north for the winter.Oriole 2

As well as its usual contact call, it also has a softer warbling sub-song which can include mimicry of other birds. The other day we came across an oriole that broke into this sub-song but we can’t include it here because, of course, the recorder had been left at home! But it’s worth listening out for this song when you next hear the oriole calling.


Click on the photos for a closer look at this striking bird.

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