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Old World Orioles and Figbirds: Oriolidae

Physical Characteristics

Orioles and figbirds are thrush-like birds in size and shape. Adults have patterns of brilliant yellows and blacks, while juveniles (and some adults) are streaked near the abdomen. They have long rounded wings and square-tipped, twelve-feathered tail. The tenth primary feather is well developed, while the number of secondary feathers is usually eleven in orioles and ten in figbirds. Bills are straight, stout, and notched at the tip of the upper mandible (top part of a bird's bill). On the sides of the bill are bristles and narrow nostrils that are partly protected by a membrane. Their feet are stout, but shorter than the longest toe. Adults are 7.0 to 11.5 inches (20 to 28 centimeters) long and weigh between 2 and 5 ounces (50 and 135 grams).

Orioles have brightly colored yellow and black plumage (feathers), a brick red bill, and slate gray feet. Male orioles are more brightly plumaged that females and have a bare patch of red skin around the eyes. Juveniles have brown-olive backs with dull bill, eyes, and feet, and a white abdomen with dusky streaks.

Figbirds (and some orioles) have black or slate-colored bill, sometimes pale eyes, and flesh-colored or black feet. Males have a black crown (top of head) and bill, an olive back, and yellow, white, olive, or gray breasts, while females and juveniles are plumaged like juvenile orioles.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceBirdsOld World Orioles and Figbirds: Oriolidae - Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Australasian Figbird (sphecotheres Vieilloti): Species Accounts, Eurasian Golden Oriole (oriolus Oriolus): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET,