Oriolus oriolus

During my long walks in early spring, in any corner of the forest, I am accompanied by an unmistakable and peculiar fluted song (tiri-oliuuu), which can be heard from a long distance, alternating with harsh calls reminiscent of the squawking of corvids ( cueejj). The protagonist of these sounds that will occur in the early hours of the morning and at the end of the afternoon from the thicket, and at the top of the trees, is a very discreet, elusive and difficult to observe bird despite its striking yellowish color. , the Eurasian golden oriole (Oriolus oriolus), which comes from tropical Africa (Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania among others) and after traveling about 3,000 km, arrives at the Iberian Peninsula at the beginning of April.

The etymological meaning of the Eurasian golden Oriole (Oriolus oriolus) comes from the classical Latin term “aureolus-a-um”: golden (diminutive of aureus: golden color + diminutive suffix – “olus”. That is, small bird (- olus) golden or golden in color.

Similar in size to a Common blackbird, the males are more striking, sporting an intense yellow that reveals their tropical origin, which covers a large part of the body up to the head, with black stripes on the wings, while the females, of tones duller, they are olive green on the back and mottled white on the underside.

The nests hang from a branch, which they build with plant tissues that they soften with their saliva. They are so robust and flexible that they can withstand any summer storm.

The female lays between three and five eggs (May-June), which will be incubated mainly by her for about 15 days. The chicks leave the nest in mid-July. In very favorable years they make a second lay.

It basically feeds on insects (caterpillars, spiders, butterflies, grasshoppers…) although it also takes advantage of some fruits at the beginning of summer, such as cherries or, almost in autumn, figs and blackberries.

Photography of the oriole is very complicated because, as I mentioned before, it is a very elusive and solitary bird, which is heard a lot but can rarely be seen, except when they leave the treetops, when they are They let us see fleetingly, passing quickly like arrows. 

Distribution of the oriole

Luckily for me, after some summers following and studying it, I have in my photographic archive some captures of this beautiful bird that will begin the journey back to its African winter quarters at the end of August.

It is the solar bird par excellence in Europe: the males are a spectacular bright yellow and seeing them perched in a tree when the clouds part and a ray of sun illuminates their golden bodies on a branch is a sight that moves you to the core. Migrants, they are elusive, fast-flying creatures that hide in the foliage; often you only glimpse them like a quick flash that leaves you speechless…(Jacinto Antón).

Playing your song

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