Black Headed Oriole

© Black Headed Oriole


This bird has a very liquid sounding call which is a common sound in the area. They are a striking yellow colour with a black head. Like the other orioles, it has bright yellow plumage with the difference being the distinctive black head, which makes it a conspicuous bird.

Although it has bright colours, it may still be difficult to spot, because its preferred habitat is among the foliage of high trees and thick bush. It is likely to be heard before being seen as its liquid whistles interspersed with lowish, drawn-out screeching sounds, are loud and draw attention.

The black-headed oriole has a slightly swooping, fast-and-direct flight pattern, which takes it on forages for the fruit and insects that it feeds on. Its long, strong bill is good at devouring most insects, with caterpillars, locusts and beetles all being fair game.


They will feed mainly on fruits, insects, berries and nectar and are said to have a very quick digestion period of around 5 minutes. They will nest in trees, placed in a fork at the end of a branch. The chicks get fed on caterpillars. There is no record of the incubation period for this bird.


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.

Where Black Headed Oriole Are Found

The black-headed oriole (Oriolus larvatus) is found over a wide range of South Africa, covering the entire eastern half and found as far south as George.

Latin name

Oriolus larvatus.
Kruger National Park - South African Safari