Montane Oriole – Mountain Gold

*Mountain Gold…*

Seeing the Montane Oriole (Oriolus percivali) for the first time one special Bwindi treat for the eyes. It’s one bird you can’t get enough of, with it’s teary red eyes, black hood and Golden yellow back. No wonder the oriole gets its name from the Latin aureolus, which means golden.

This ‘true’ oriole is a breeding resident of tropical moist montane forests in East Africa. I say true because the Americas have their ‘orioles’ of the black bird family (icterids) which are of no genetic relation to true Orioles except for their beautiful black-and-yellow patterns.

1. Adult males are much more brightly colored than females, but the males don’t get their brilliant plumage until their second year

2. Orioles are insect eaters and unlike most other birds, they will feed on hairy caterpillars too. It’s fascinating to watch the Orioles rubbing and beating their ‘hairy food’ against a branch to remove many of the hairs before the prey is eaten.

3. Orioles build their nests as if they have engineering degrees. They build pendulous, tightly woven, cup-shaped nests. The catch is that such elaborate nests are constructed by the females (which may suggest which of the two genders is more intelligent.)

4. The female also does all of the incubation. The male’s work is to keep her fed her confinement.

5. (Consolation) Both parents rear the young.

NB: Note, however, that Orioles appear to be sensitive to the spraying of pesticides, with birds succumbing directly from the poison and from the loss of their insect food sources