Indian golden oriole

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Indian golden oriole
Eurasian Golden Oriole (Oriolus oriolus)- kundoo race- Male at Secunderabad W IMG 6714.jpg
Eurasian Golden Oriole (Oriolus oriolus)- Female on nest W IMG 9559.jpg
Adult male above, female on nest below
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Oriolidae
Genus: Oriolus
Species: O. kundoo
Binomial name
Oriolus kundoo
(Sykes, 1832)
Oriolus kundoo distribution map.png
Approximate distribution

Oriolus oriolus kundoo

The Indian golden oriole (Oriolus kundoo) is a species of oriole found in the Indian subcontinent and Central Asia. The species was once considered to be a subspecies of the Eurasian golden oriole, but has been elevated to a full species on the basis of differences in morphology, plumage, calls and the fact that the two do not intergrade.[2] Adult males can be told apart from the Eurasian golden oriole by the black of the eye stripe extending behind the eye. The Indian golden oriole is a partial migrant. It breeds in Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Nepal, as well as much of India. The Indian populations are largely resident while other populations are migratory.[2]


Male from below

Very similar to the Eurasian golden oriole but has more yellow in the tail and has a paler shade of red in the iris and bill. The male has the black eye stripe extending behind the eye, a large carpal patch on the wing and wide yellow tips to the secondaries and tertiaries. The streaks on the underside of females is more sharp than in the females of the Eurasian golden oriole.[3][4][5] The European species is larger with a wing length of 149-162 in adult males compared to 136-144 in O. kundoo. The wing formula is also different with primary 2 longer than 5 in O. oriolus while primary 5 is longer than 2 in O. kundoo. A population named baltistanicus was considered by Charles Vaurie to be indistinguishable from kundoo while turkestanica appeared to be based on a specimen of a typical Oriolus oriolus.[6]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

This oriole breeds from Baluchistan and Afghanistan along the Himalayas to Nepal. Some populations breed in the peninsular region but are very local. The northern populations winter in southern India, with some birds wintering in Sri Lanka. Records from the Maldives and the Andaman Islands have not been carefully identified.[3]

The Indian golden oriole inhabits a range of habitats including open deciduous forests, semi-evergreen forests, woodland, forest edge, mangroves, open country with scattered trees, parks, gardens orchards and plantations.[2]

Behaviour and ecology[edit]

Male in nest (Hyderabad, India)

Orioles feed on fruits, nectar and insects.[3] They are capable of dispersing the seeds of many berry-bearing plants including the invasive Lantana camara.[7] An oriole has been recorded preying on Draco dussumieri.[8] Their flight is dipping but strong and has been recorded to reach about 40 km/h. They sometimes bathe by repeatedly flying into a small pool of water. An individual ringed in Gujarat was recovered in Tajikistan more than nine years later.[9]

The breeding season is April to August, the nest being a small cup placed in a fork near the end of a branch. Nests are often built in the vicinity of the nest of a black drongo.[3] Two or three white eggs with reddish, brown and black speckling form the typical clutch. Both parents take part in nest and brood care, defending the nest against intruding birds such as shikras and crows.[9]

A protozoal blood parasite, Haemoproteus orioli, described from this species has been suggested to occur in many oriole species[10] but may represent different lineages.[11]


  1. ^ Oriolus kundoo on Avibase
  2. ^ a b c Walther, B; Jones, P (2008). "Family Oriolidae (Orioles and Figbirds)]". In Josep, del Hoyo; Andrew, Elliott; David, Christie. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 13, Penduline-tits to Shrikes. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. pp. 692–723. ISBN 978-84-96553-45-3 
  3. ^ a b c d Rasmussen PC & JC Anderton (2005). Birds of South Asia. The Ripley Guide. Volume 2. Washington DC & Barcelona: Smithsonian Institution and Lynx Edicions. p. 586. 
  4. ^ Jønsson, KA; Rauri C. K. Bowie, Robert G. Moyle, Martin Irestedt, Les Christidis, Janette A. Norman and Jon Fjeldsa (2010). "Phylogeny and biogeography of Oriolidae (Aves: Passeriformes)". Ecography 33: 232–241. doi:10.1111/j.1600-0587.2010.06167.x. 
  5. ^ Kollibay, Paul (1915). "Einige Bemerkungen über Oriolus oriolus kundoo Sykes". Journal of Ornithology (in German) 64 (2): 241–243. doi:10.1007/BF02250522. 
  6. ^ Vaurie, Charles. "Systematic notes on Palearctic birds. No. 32, Oriolidae, Dicruridae, Bombycillidae, Pycnonotidae, Nectariniidae, and Zosteropidae". American Museum novitates 1869: 1–28. 
  7. ^ Ali, Salim (1936). "Economic ornithology in India". Current Science 4: 472–478. 
  8. ^ Balachandran, S (1998). "Golden oriole Oriolus oriolus preying on flying lizard Draco dussumieri Dum. & Bibr". J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 95 (1): 115. 
  9. ^ a b Ali S & SD Ripley. Handbook of the Birds of India and Pakistan. Volume 5 (2 ed.). New Delhi: Oxford University Press. pp. 102–104. 
  10. ^ Peirce, MA (1984). "Haematozoa of Zambian birds VII. Redescription of Haemoproteus orioli from Oriolus oriolus (Oriolidae)". Journal of Natural History 18 (5): 785–787. doi:10.1080/00222938400770651. 
  11. ^ Dimitrov, Dimitar ; Pavel Zehtindjiev and Staffan Bensch (2010). "Genetic diversity of avian blood parasites in SE Europe: Cytochrome b lineages of the genera Plasmodium and Haemoproteus (Haemosporida) from Bulgaria". Acta Parasitologica 55 (3): 201–209. doi:10.2478/s11686-010-0029-z. 

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