Saturday, July 19, 2014

Black-naped Oriole (Oriolus chinensis)

Field marks: (26. Cm.)  All yellow except for the wing tips and tail, black mask, long pinkish bill
黑枕黄鹂 – hēi-zhěn huáng-lí – ‘black napped yellow oriole’

The Black-naped Oriole is a strikingly beautiful yellow and black bird which is a member of the avian family, “oriolidae”, the orioles. All orioles are robust birds with long powerful bills which they employ in the consumption of fruits and insects. The Black-naped Oriole is named for the black patch on the back of its head near the nape of its neck. This patch forms a mask on the face of the bird. Males and females of this species look alike.

This species is Asian in its distribution and it is found in many Asian countries including Russia, Korea, China, India, Burma and Thailand. In China, it is a breeding bird that breeds throughout Eastern China all the way up to Heilongjiang.

Orioles of all species make nests that resemble bags that are situated in the forks of trees and suspended from the branches.  Orioles are also known for their beautiful and melodious whistled songs.

The Black-naped Oriole is a versatile bird which can eat a wide variety of foods and live in a wide variety of habitats. I can be found in forests, parks and cultivated areas as well.

Their diets consist of a wide variety of insect species in addition to fruits, especially berries. They even have a predatory streak like the Black-billed Magpie and will often take eggs and chicks from the nests of other songbirds.

In breeding season, the female may build several nests before finally settling on one to use. The unused nests are often occupied by the males during the breeding season. Nests are often built close to the nests of the Black Drongo. The females lay 2-3 eggs and incubate them herself. Once hatched, the chicks are provided with food by both the male and female parents.

The Black-naped Orioles great beauty is a mixed blessing for this bird in China. While beloved by many birdwatchers, this species often is trapped for the caged bird market in this country. Beautiful birds such as these should be appreciated where they belong-in the wild.
Photo by Lip Kee

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