Olive-backed Oriole

Did you know?

Olive-backed Orioles are excellent mimics of other birds, and are also 'ventriloquists', meaning they can 'throw' their voices to sound like they are calling from somewhere else.

Calls
Repeated, rolling 'ori-ori-oriole'.
Facts and Figures
Research Species: 
No
Minimum Size: 
26cm
Maximum Size: 
28cm
Average size: 
27cm
Average weight: 
96g
Breeding season: 
September to January
Clutch Size: 
2 to 3
Incubation: 
18 days
Nestling Period: 
17 days
Conservation Status
Federal: 
NSW: 
NT: 
QLD: 
SA: 
VIC: 
WA: 
Associated Plants
Basic Information
Scientific Name: 
Featured bird groups: 
Atlas Number: 
671
What does it look like?
Description: 

The Olive-backed Oriole is part of a worldwide family, of which Australia has two other members (the Yellow Oriole and the Figbird). Males and females have an olive-green head and back, grey wings and tail, and cream underparts, streaked with brown. They both have a bright red eye and reddish beak. Females can be distinguished from males by a paler bill, duller-green back, and an extension of the streaked underparts up to the chin.

Similar species: 

Olive-backed Orioles have a reddish bill, which easily distinguishes the species from the similar Figbird Sphecotheres viridis, which has a blackish bill. It also lacks the Figbird's bare eye skin and has red rather than dark eyes. The Yellow Oriole O. flavocinctus is generally more yellow overall.

Where does it live?
Distribution: 

The Olive-backed Oriole occurs across coastal regions of northern and eastern Australia from the Kimberley region in Western Australia, right around the east coast to Adelaide in South Australia.

Habitat: 

The Olive-backed Oriole lives in forests, woodlands and rainforests, as well as well-treed urban areas, particularly parks and golf courses.

Seasonal movements: 

Sedentary in the north of its range, but appears to be a summer migrant to the more southern part of its range. Small groups undertake nomadic movements, following fruiting trees during the autumn and winter.

What does it do?
Feeding: 

Olive-backed Orioles are less gregarious than Figbirds, with which they are often seen foraging. Although they are sometimes seen in small groups, particularly in autumn and winter, they more often occur alone or in pairs, feeding on insects and fruit in canopy trees.

Breeding: 

The female Olive-backed Oriole builds a cup-shaped nest which is attached by its rim to a horizontal fork on the outer-edge of the foliage of a tree or tall shrub. Nests are usually around 10 m above the ground, and built of strips of bark and grass, bound with spider web. The male does not build the nest, or incubate the eggs, but he feeds the young after the eggs hatch.

Living with us

Olive-backed Orioles are commonly encountered in urban parks and golf-courses, particularly those that have fruit-bearing trees. As fruit form a major part of the diet of this species, Olive-backed Orioles are attracted to parks and gardens that have trees that produce abundant berries.

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