Black-headed oriole

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Black-headed oriole
Song recorded in the Masai Mara Game Reserve, Kenya
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Oriolidae
Genus: Oriolus
O. larvatus
Binomial name
Oriolus larvatus

The black-headed oriole (Oriolus larvatus) is a species of bird in the family Oriolidae. It is found in Africa and has a very striking appearance with a bright yellow body, contrasting black head and flesh-coloured beak.

Taxonomy and systematics[edit]

Some authorities have considered the mountain oriole to be a subspecies of the black-headed oriole. Alternate names for the black-headed oriole include the African black-headed oriole, Eastern black-headed oriole and Eastern oriole.


Five subspecies are recognized:[2]

  • O. l. rolleti - Salvadori, 1864: Originally described as a separate species. Found from southern Sudan and southern Ethiopia to eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and central Kenya
  • O. l. reichenowi - Zedlitz, 1916: Found from Somalia to eastern Tanzania
  • Kenya black-headed oriole (O. l. angolensis) - Neumann, 1905: Found from Angola and Namibia to western Tanzania and northern Mozambique
  • O. l. tibicen - Lawson, 1962: Found from coastal southern Tanzania to coastal southern Mozambique
  • O. l. larvatus - Lichtenstein, MHK, 1823: Found from southern Zimbabwe to inland southern Mozambique and eastern South Africa


The black-headed oriole has a bright yellow body, contrasting black head and flesh-coloured beak. The voice is a liquid-sounding warble, accompanied by imitations and whistles.

Distribution and habitat[edit]

It breeds in much of sub-Saharan Africa from South Sudan and Ethiopia in the north to South Africa in the south.

It inhabits dry tropical forests, especially acacia and broad-leaved woodlands, and dense shrubland areas, where it is more often heard than seen despite the brightness of its plumage.

Behaviour and ecology[edit]

The black-headed oriole forages in the canopy, feeding on small fruit as well as large insects. The young are fed mostly with caterpillars.



  1. ^ BirdLife International (2016). "Oriolus larvatus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2016: e.T22706421A94068822. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22706421A94068822.en. Retrieved 19 November 2021.
  2. ^ "IOC World Bird List 7.1". IOC World Bird List Datasets. doi:10.14344/
  3. ^ "HBW 13 - Family text: Oriolidae (Orioles and Figbirds)". Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. Archived from the original on 19 May 2016. Retrieved 14 September 2016.

External links[edit]