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Oilbird: Steatornithidae


Oilbirds are frugivores, animals that eat fruit. Oilbirds eat the fruits of palm trees, laurel trees, and avocado trees.


In centuries past, people in Central and South America realized that the fruit-eating birds were a source of oil. People captured the plump nestlings and boiled them to obtain yellow oil. People cooked with the oil and used it to light their lamps. In the twenty-first century, oilbirds became a protected species in many countries, so they are no longer hunted for their oil.

Groups of oilbirds forage at night, looking for food. They fly down, pluck fruit from the trees, and swallow it whole. Oilbirds eat the soft pulp inside the fruit. During the day, birds digest their food and then regurgitate (re-GER-jih-tate) the Oilbirds use echolocation to find their way through their dark caves. (© John J. Bamgma/Photo Researchers, Inc. Reproduced by permission.) seeds. Regurgitation is the process of vomiting, removing food in the stomach through the mouth.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceBirdsOilbird: Steatornithidae - Physical Characteristics, Diet, Behavior And Reproduction - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, OILBIRDS AND PEOPLE, CONSERVATION STATUS