Black Headed Oriole

© Nigel J Dennis
Black Headed Oriole.


Black-headed oriole (Oriolus larvatus)


The adult black-headed oriole is a striking bright yellow colour with a distinctive black head. Its long, strong bill is good at devouring most insects, with caterpillars, locusts and beetles all being fair game. It may be difficult to spot, despite the bright yellow colour, because it prefers the foliage of high trees and thick bush. It is likely to be heard before being seen as its well-known liquid melodious whistles interspersed with low, drawn-out screeching sounds, are loud and draw attention. The black-headed oriole has a slightly swooping, fast-and-direct flight pattern.

Black-headed Oriole Diet

In South Africa, the black-headed oriole will feed mainly on fruits, insects, berries and nectar. The chicks get fed on caterpillars.

Black-headed Oriole Breeding

Nests are a loose bag-like affair made and disguised with cobweb, lichen and small twigs and sited at the ends of thin branches high up in the tree canopy. There is no record of the incubation period for this bird.

Where they are found

The black-headed oriole is found over a wide range of South Africa, covering the entire eastern half and found as far south as George. It inhabits dry tropical forests, especially acacia, broad-leaved woodlands, and dense shrub land areas.