Family Oriolidae

There are three members in Australia of this widespread family from Africa and Eurasia, two orioles and a figbird. Only the Olive-backed Oriole appears in Canberra. Orioles inhabit a wide variety of habitats, including broadleaf thickets and scrublands, dry forests and woodlands, and urban parklands, so they can feel quite at home in the Canberra suburbs.


Olive-backed Oriole

Oriolus sagittatus

The Olive-backed Oriole is another summer migrant, preferring woodland and forest habitats. They are generally solitary birds or appear only in small groups. They forage quietly through the upper canopy of trees, feeding on insects and fruit. They can be quite vocal as they arrive in the suburbs, and their musical call is a welcome harbinger of spring.
Birds arrive from August and numbers peak in October before dropping off as they move away from the suburbs to breed. They are probably less conspicuous when they pass through on the return journey in autumn, and they are rare in Canberra from May to July. The number of observations each year has been fairly constant over the course of the survey. Nesting has been recorded from October to December, and dependent young observed from mid-December to mid-February. R=37. BR=40.