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Old World Orioles and Figbirds: Oriolidae

Behavior And Reproduction

Figbirds usually live in communities of twenty to forty birds during the nonbreeding season and in larger colonies during the breeding season, while orioles are usually solitary birds. Figbirds like to perch on high bare branches. They give one- or two-note whistled songs all year round in order to maintain contact with other figbirds. Orioles sing a short rolling warble that is repeated many times during breeding and is heard for nearly 0.5 mile (0.8 kilometers) in order to show they are defending a territory. The grouping and pitch of notes vary among species, but the basic sound is the same. Both orioles and figbirds use short, harsh squawks when they are nervous or angry. They fly in direct and wavy flights, from tree to tree, but orioles are faster and swoop up just before perching. Orioles and figbirds are quiet and motionless while in tree crowns, often sun-bathing or rain-bathing there. About two to ten breeding pairs are found per 0.6 square miles (1 square kilometer), with the exact number determined by their surroundings.

Breeding occurs from time-to-time all year-round in the tropics, but is from spring to early summer in temperate regions. Orioles and figbirds are basically monogamous (muh-NAH-guh-mus; having one mate). Oriole males find and hold a small territory while females build the nest (sometimes more than one) and incubate (sit on) the eggs with some help from her mate. Orioles build thick, deep basket-shaped nests of dry plant fiber tied together with animal wool, moss, and lichen. The nest is hung from a horizontal fork in the outer branches of trees usually high off the ground. Strips are moistened with their saliva to hold the nest together. Figbirds build a rough cup of twigs and tendrils in small outer branches. Figbird and oriole females lay two to four eggs (usually three in figbirds) that are pale gray olive in figbirds and pinkish white to pale cream buff in orioles. Both eggs can be spotted and speckled with black to reddish browns. The incubation period (time to sit on and warm the eggs before they hatch) is sixteen to eighteen days. Young have yellow down and are fed by regurgitated food (food brought up from stomach) from their parents. Sometimes male helpers also help out. Usually only one brood (young birds born and raised together) occurs each year.

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,