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22

Olive-backed Oriole

(Oriolus sagittatus)
Alternate name(s): "Green Thrush", "Oriole*", "Cedarbird"
Size: 25-28 cm
Weight: 80-120 g

Similar species

Description     Classification     Distribution     Sightings     Photos     Breeding     Nest     Eggs     Behaviour     Food     Call/s

Physical description

Click here for a physical description

Taxonomy, classification

See Olive-backed Oriole at Wikipedia .

Range, habitat, finding this species

Click here for information on habitat and range

Sightings

Click here for sighting information

Photos

Race "sagittatus"

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ADULT

MALE

Frontal/ventral view of an Olive-backed Oriole issuing its call; note the olive tint on throat and chin
[Pilliga NR, NSW, December 2011]

Near-frontal view of a male Olive-backed Oriole checking out the photographer
[Eulah Creek, NSW]

This dorsal view shows clearly how Olive-backed Orioles got their name; note the neat olive back and the sharp transition to dark-grey wing feathers with white edge lining, which is typical of a male
[Eulah Creek, NSW, July 2011]

FEMALE

Frontal view of a female Olive-backed Oriole; note the dark-grey streaking down the throat and the less conspicuous bill compared to a male
[Near Pilliga, NSW, June 2016]

Lateral view of a female Olive-backed Oriole
[Eulah Creek, NSW, October 2018]

Lateral view of a female Olive-backed Oriole; this photo is also used to explain the plumage of birds
[Eulah Creek, NSW, August 2009]

Dorsal view of a female Olive-backed Oriole
[Eulah Creek, NSW, August 2009]

Lateral view of a female Olive-backed Oriole siding up with a Little Friarbird
[Eulah Creek, NSW, December 2006]

Near-dorsal view of a female, Olive-backed Oriole; the plumage indicates that this is an adult bird, but this specimen has a particularly dark bill
[Eulah Creek, NSW, April 2013]

Near-lateral view of a (sub-adult?) female Olive-backed Oriole on our lawn; note the red eye, but buff edge-lining on the wing feathers
[Eulah Creek, NSW, August 2009]

IMMATURE/JUVENILE

This frontal/ventral view of a juvenile Olive-backed Oriole clearly shows its typical passerine foothold
[Eulah Creek, NSW, May 2012]

Close-up near-frontal view of a juvenile Olive-backed Oriole; note the dark iris, strong supercilium, dark bill and rufous edge-lining on the wing feathers
[Eulah Creek, NSW, August 2011]

Near-dorsal view of a juvenile Olive-backed Oriole; note the dark bill and iris, prominent supercilium and the partial rufous edge-lining on the wing feathers
[20 km South of Narrabri, NSW, 2006]

Direct comparison between an adult Olive-backed Oriole (back) and a juvenile bird (front); apart from the different colour of the back, eyes and bill, note how much bulkier the adult is compared to the young bird
[Eulah Creek, NSW, August 2017]

Dorsal view of a juvenile Olive-backed Oriole; here streaked upperparts and rufous edge-lining of the wing feathers can still be seen
[Eulah Creek, NSW, July 2010]

Frontal view of a fledgling Olive-backed Oriole (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[St. Albans, NSW, December 2013]

Dorsal view of the same fledgling Olive-backed Oriole as shown above (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[St. Albans, NSW, December 2013]

Race "affinis"

ADULT

MALE

Lateral view of a male Olive-backed Oriole; note the bright-olive crown and upperparts and bright-red bill and iris
(photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Lee Point, Darwin, NT, July 2013]

FEMALE

Near-frontal view of a female Olive-backed Oriole; note the red iris, but darker bill than a male's (photo courtesy of P. Brown)
[Marlow's Lagoon, Palmerston, NT, May 2018]

Near-dorsal view of a female Olive-backed Oriole; note the red iris, but darker bill than a male's (photo courtesy of P. Brown)
[Marlow's Lagoon, Palmerston, NT, May 2018]

IMMATURE/JUVENILE

Frontal view of a juvenile Olive-backed Oriole; note the dark bill and iris (photo courtesy of P. Brown)
[Palmerston, NT, August 2018]

Near-frontal view of a juvenile Olive-backed Oriole (photo courtesy of P. Brown)
[Marlow's Lagoon, Palmerston, NT, May 2018]

Lateral view of a juvenile Olive-backed Oriole (photo courtesy of P. Brown)
[Palmerston, NT, August 2018]

Dorsal view of a juvenile Olive-backed Oriole (photo courtesy of P. Brown)
[Palmerston, NT, August 2018]

Breeding information

Breeding season: Sep - Jan Eggs: 2 - 4 Incubation period: 18 days Fledging age: 16 - 17 days

The breeding season of Olive-backed Orioles varies a lot, depending mostly on geographic latitude. Given the right conditions, Olive-backed Orioles can breed at any time of the year. Sep - Jan, as listed in the table above, is the core breeding season for Olive-backed Orioles in SE Australia.

Nest building: Female Incubation: Female Dependent care: Male & female

Nest

"bungobittah", "malunna" = nest [Aboriginal]

Type: Suspended basket Material: Twigs, rootlets, bark fibre, casuarina leaves, bound with spider webs Height above ground: 2 - 15 m

Olive-backed Oriole on its nest (photo courtesy of L. Scott)
[Roseberry Creek Valley, near Toonumbar NP, NSW, November 2017]

Olive-backed Oriole on its nest, seen from a different angle (photo courtesy of L. Scott)
[Roseberry Creek Valley, near Toonumbar NP, NSW, November 2017]

Olive-backed Oriole nest in a minor fork of an outer branch of a casuarina tree near a small inland creek
[Near Maules Creek, NSW, December 2014]

Olive-backed Oriole entering its nest; this is the bird whose calls were recorded by us on 25 December 2014
[Near Maules Creek, NSW, December 2014]

Eggs

"boyanga", "booyanga", "derinya", "dirandil", "koomura", "ngampu", "nooluk", "pateena" = Egg; "dirundirri" = eggs [Aboriginal]; "gawu" = eggs [gamilaraay]

Size: 33 x 22 mm Colour: Grey-brown, with mid- to dark-brown speckles Shape: Tapered oval

Behaviour

Social behaviour: Territorial? Mobility: Sedentary in N; migratory in far SE Elementary unit: Solitary

We have seen an adult Olive-backed Oriole chase a family of Australian King-Parrots, which is a sign of possible food competition.

Although hunting mostly in the trees lining rivers and creeks, such as e.g. casuarinas, Olive-backed Orioles are also seen by us regularly around rockpools
[Mt. Kaputar NP, NSW, April 2013]

Not often seen by us: Olive-backed Oriole enjoying a shower under a garden sprinkler - head and tail up...
[Eulah Creek, NSW, October 2013]

Olive-backed Oriole enjoying a shower under a garden sprinkler - head and tail down
[Eulah Creek, NSW, October 2013]

Although hunting mostly in the trees lining rivers and creeks, such as e.g. casuarinas, Olive-backed Orioles are also seen by us regularly around rockpools
[Mt. Kaputar NP, NSW, April 2013]

Olive-backed Oriole, which usually appear to be placid, can be fearce fighters when defending their nests; this is the bird seen by us swooping on a Pied Currawong, while producing the calls recorded by us on 20 December 2014
[Near Maules Creek, NSW, December 2014]

Food, Diet

Adults: Insects, nectar, fruit Dependents: Insects(?) Water intake: Daily

Olive-backed Orioles have a varied diet, feeding on insects, nectar, native figs and other fruit (see also photos above, of adult birds feeding chicks). They are seen by us regularly hunting insects in Acacia salicinas.

Ventral view of an Olive-backed Oriole with its catch, a bee (photo courtesy of P. Brown)
[Bird Billabong Road, near Arnhem Highway, NT, July 2018]

Olive-backed Oriole taking nectar from a Bottlebrush (Callistemon) tree
[Eulah Creek, NSW, August 2013]

Olive-backed Oriole taking nectar from an eucalypt tree (photo courtesy of M. Windeyer)
[Gilgandra, NSW, July 2011]

Lateral view of a juvenile Olive-backed Oriole taking nectar (photo courtesy of P. Brown)
[Palmerston, NT, August 2018]

Juvenile Olive-backed Oriole seen in a mulberry tree
[Eulah Creek, NSW, October 2011]

This photo, although unsharp, shows what the Olive-backed Oriole was after
[Eulah Creek, NSW, October 2011]

This Olive-backed Oriole is taking seeds from some kind of acacia
[Near Maules Creek, NSW, December 2014]

Lateral view of a juvenile Olive-backed Oriole drinking from one of our water bowls
[Eulah Creek, NSW, May 2007]

Four of at least 15 Olive-backed Orioles staying at our place at the time, drinking from a small farm dam
[Eulah Creek, NSW, August 2013]

Call(s)/Song

For this species we have recorded the following call(s)/song. The interpretation of their meaning is our own; comments and suggestions for improvement are welcome.

oboriol_20170831_5.m4a sagittatus
(NW NSW)
Contact call © MD
oboriol_20141204.mp3 sagittatus
(NW NSW)
Contact calls © MD
oboriol_20141225.mp3 sagittatus
(NW NSW)
Contact calls (near nest) © MD
oboriol_20141225_2.mp3 sagittatus
(NW NSW)
Contact calls (near nest) © MD
oboriol_20151201.m4a sagittatus
(W NSW)
Contact calls (no chatter) © MD
oboriol_20141220_2.mp3 sagittatus
(NW NSW)
Alarm (Pied Currawong) © MD
oboriol_20141220_1.mp3 sagittatus
(NW NSW)
Alarm (swooping on Pied Curr.) © MD
oboriol_20170831.m4a sagittatus
(NW NSW)
Contact calls + babbling/mimicry © MD
oboriol_20170831_2.m4a sagittatus
(NW NSW)
Contact calls + babbling/mimicry © MD
oboriol_20151202_3.mp3 sagittatus
(W NSW)
Chatter © MD
oboriol_20141016.mp3 sagittatus
(NW NSW)
Chatter + contact call (imm.) © MD
oboriol_20141031.mp3 sagittatus
(NW NSW)
Contact call + chatter (imm.) © MD
oboriol_20141225_4.mp3 sagittatus
(NW NSW)
? (near nest) © MD

These pages are largely based on our own observations and those of our contributors. The structure of these bird pages is explained HERE. For more salient facts on any bird species please refer to a field guide.

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